A plaque remaining from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem.

Above, a 1934 plaque from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem. Discarded as trash in 2006.

Recent entries:
“Pinterest is Instagram for moms” (11/17)
“How did the Mayflower show that it liked America?"/"It hugged the shore.” (11/17)
Entry forthcoming—B.P. (11/17)
Entry forthcoming—B.P. (11/17)
Entry forthcoming—B.P. (11/17)
More new entries...

A  B  C  D  E  F  G  H  I  J  K  L  M  N  O  P  Q  R  S  T  U  V  W  X  Y  Z


Entry from January 25, 2017
“Intoxicated, adj.: When you feel sophisticated without being able to pronounce it”

"Drunk is when you feel sophisticated, but can’t pronounce it” is a jocular drinking saying that has been printed on many images. “You’re drunk when you feel sophisticated and can’t pronounce it” was published in the New York City humor magazine The Judge in 1937.

A different phrasing was published in a 1938 newspaper:

Chief: “Define intoxication.”
Sailor: There are two definitions. One, to feel sophisticated and not be able to pronounce it. Two, to feel single and see double.”



Google Books
The Judge
Volumes 112-113
1937
Pg. 98:
“Simile: As easy as falling off a water wagon,” “There’s no fool like an oiled fool,” and “You’re drunk when you feel sophisticated and can’t pronounce it.”

8 April 1937, The Indian Journal (Eufaula, OK), “Pete’s Paraghaphs!” by Walter Fears, pg. 7, col. 4:
From that same publication (The Judge—ed.) I learned that “You’re drunk when you feel sophisticated and can’t pronounce it.”

Old Fulton NY Post Cards
8 December 1938, Olivet (MI) Optic, pg. 5, col. 6:
Chief: “Define intoxication.”
Sailor: There are two definitions. One, to feel sophisticated and not be able to pronounce it. Two, to feel single and see double.”
Chief: “Master-at-Arms! take him away.”

Old Fulton NY Post Cards
4 November 1943, Phelps (NY) Citizen-Echo, Walter Winchell entertainment column, pg. 3, col. 1:
Anon’s definition of intoxicated: To feel sophisticated and not be able to pronounce it.

Old Fulton NY Post Cards
27 October 1949, Kingston (NY) Daily Freeman, “Office Cat” by Junius, pg. 6, col. 1:
A definition of intoxication: To feel sophisticated, and not be able to pronounce it.

26 November 1950, Bellingham (WA) Herald, “Today’s Chuckle,” pg. 1, col. 8:
You’ve had too many highballs when you feel sophisticated and can’t pronounce it.
--Expanding Circle.

Google Books
The Omnibus of Fun
By Helen Eisenberg and Larry Eisenberg
New York, NY: Association Press
1956
Pg. 204:
INTOXICATION. When you feel sophisticated but can’t pronounce it.

Google Books
Drifting Twigs
BY Dalton E. Brady
New York, NY: Comet Press Books
1958
Pg. 165:
You are drunk when you feel sophisticated and are not able to pronounce it.

4 September 1959, Newsday (Long Island, NY), “It Happened Last Night” by Earl Wilson, pg. 4C, col. 3:
Take, for example, the oldie, “You’ve had enough to drink when you feel sophisticated and can’t pronounce it.” Who said that? Well, about 50 comedians, according to the newspaper files.

19 March 1964, The State (Columbia, SC), “Bob Talbert At Large,” pg. 1-B, col. 1:
The best test for intoxication is when you feel sophisticated but can’t pronounce it.

Google Books
Henny Youngman’s Bar Bets, Bar Jokes, Bar Tricks
BY Henny Youngman
New York, NY: Wings Books
1994
Pg. 128:
You’re drunk when you feel sophisticated and can’t pronounce it.

Google Books
20,000 Quips & Quotes
By Evan Esar
New York, NY: Barnes & Noble Books
1995, ©1968
Pg. 753:
You have had enough to drink when you feel sophisticated and cannot pronounce it.

Twitter
Fortune Tweets
‏@fortunetweet
intoxicated, adj.:
When you feel sophisticated without being able to pronounce it.
10:00 PM - 5 Feb 2008

Twitter
Emily
‏@ThatEmilyLady
Drunk is when you feel sophisticated but you can’t pronounce it.
3:19 AM - 28 Aug 2009

Google Books
The Mammoth Book of One-Liners
Edited by Geoff Tibballs
London: Constable & Robinson Ltd
2012
Pg. ?:
You know you’re drunk when you feel sophisticated but can’t pronounce it. 

Posted by Barry Popik
New York CityFood/Drink • Wednesday, January 25, 2017 • Permalink