What "pissed" means in American English

I'm sure there are tons of people defining the word "pissed" online, but I'd like to add my take here, because recently I exchanged emails with a Brit who needed some clarification.

To Americans, the word "pissed" means really angry. Like "I'm so pissed that jerk got the job I wanted!"

But to Brits, "pissed" means drunk. It never means drunk to us. We simply say "drunk". Or if we're not at the drunk level, we say "tipsy" or "buzzed". And if we're very drunk, we say "wasted".

So when a Brit asks me if they seemed "pissed", at first I think I made them angry, but then realize they're talking about drinking too much.


Anonymous said...

That's true-'pissed' does mean 'drunk' in British and Commonwealth English. However, 'pissed off' tends to mean 'angry' throughout the Anglosphere, so you can be pretty safe with that. :)

Margaret Larkin said...

So I guess the next time I go to England they'll understand me when I say I'm pissed off about the bad exchange rate :D

roxy said...

Causes much unintended hilarity when us Brits are watching American programmes. An episode of Babylon Five had an alien ship approaching the space station with gun ports open "and I think they're pissed" announced the govenor of the station. We knew what was meant but my husband and I laughed for the rest of the night about the perils of drunk aliens trying to dock with a space station. BTW, 'pissed off' means angry. 'Pissed on' means being taking advantage of. I think we have a whole urine thing going on.