Originates from "plonk," meaning cheap or hard liquor, or white wine. Derived from French "vin blanc," white wine. Originally Australian, since WWII.
2. Rushing the growler
In the 19th century, due to the lack of refrigeration, it was common practice to send children to a local saloon to fetch beer in a pail or pitcher, which was called a "growler." Since these children were often in a hurry, they were said to be "rushing the growler." Today, to "rush the growler" means to drink heavily.
3. Pegged out
Probably from a slang term for "dead," which originated as a cribbage term. Also, a "peg" is a dram of liquor, and to "peg" means to consume intoxicants. Cf. the following.
4. Pickled the mustard
To "souse" is to drink to the point of intoxication. But "souse," also means pickling brine or some thing pickled. Since the mid 1800s.
6. Whip The Cat
Meaning to vomit esp. due to crapulence, or to get tipsy. Late 1500s to early 1600s.
9. Three sheets in the wind
Totally drunk. A "sheet" is a rope holding a sail in place. A "sheet in (or to) the wind" is such a rope that has come loose. To "have a sheet in the wind" is common nautical slang for to be drunk, so "three sheets in the wind" means very drunk indeed. Originally British, since the 1820s.
From old term for "uncomfortable" or "uncertain." Refers to the disposition of a drinker after going on a bender.
11. Vice-Admiral of the narrow seas
So drunk that one has lost bladder control and filled one’s boots (the "narrow seas"). Possibly used by Samuel Johnson. Dates back to at least the 1500s; possibly goes back as far as the 1400s.
12. Making a Virginia fence
A Virginia fence is a zigzag fence. Hence, walking in a zigzag fashion. Noted by Benjamin Franklin.
16. Wine of ape
At the point of drunkenness where one becomes surly. According to early Rabbinical literature, while Noah was planting grape vines, Satan appeared to him with a lamb, a lion, an ape and a pig as symbols of the four stages of intoxication: First, one is like a lamb; then, one is like a lion; then, one is like an ape, finally, one is like a pig.
19. Queer in the attic
Refers to the bizarre behavior caused by drinking. "Attic" is British slang for the mind.
20. Fallen among thieves
Of Biblical origin. To "fall among thieves" is to admit that one is drunk. Usu. humorous use.
Full of beer. The word comes from Gambrinus, a mythical Flemish king who is supposed to have invented beer.
25. Dyeing scarlet
Drinking deep or hard. Appears in Shakespeare's works. Late 1500s to early 1600s.
26. Like an owl in an ivy bush
Having a vacant stare due to drunkenness. The ivy bush is a favored haunt for owls, as well as the favorite plant of Bacchus. Since the 1600s.