‘Drunk as a clam’: How to say you’ve had too much to drink in Spanish

Many languages have original and funny expressions to refer to the act of being under the influence, and Spanish is no exception to this. 

'Drunk as a clam': How to say you've had too much to drink in Spanish
There are many different ways to say that someone is drunk in Spanish. Photo: Cesar Manso/AFP

One of the first words you learnt in Spanish may have been borracho/a (drunk), not necessarily because you’re inclined to a tipple or two, it’s just a word that comes up often in conversation together with beber (to drink), cerveza (beer), vino (wine) and resaca (hangover).

But if you want to take your boozy Spanish vernacular to the next level and learn some expressions that will get you a few laughs and impress the locals, buckle up and bottoms up because you’re in for a treat. ¡Salud!

Cogerse un pedo/Estar pedo – To grab a fart or to be fart

This is the most common colloquial way of referring to a drunken episode in Spain. 

Pedo, apart from being the noun for fart in Spanish, is also the word for a bender, so if someone shouts ¡menudo pedo!, they’re not necessarily paying tribute to the wind they’ve just passed. 

Equally important in these cases is to not mistake the verbs you use, as tirarse un pedo or echarse un pedo (to throw) is the correct way of referring to actually farting. 

If it’s a monumental bender and you want to emphasize that, you can swap pedo for pedal

Use it like this: 

Acuérdate de no conducir si te vas a coger un pedo.

Remember not to drive if you’re going to get drunk.

Ponerse ciego/Llevar un ciego – To get blind drunk/To carry a blind person

Here’s an expression which has its exact English equivalent: blind drunk. It seems that loss of sight due to severe inebriation knows of no linguistic barriers. It’s worth noting however that in Spain you can also get blind with food or anything else you consume in excess.

Use it like this:

He aprobado el examen así que esta noche me voy a poner ciego a margaritas.

I’ve passed the exam so tonight I’m going to get blind drunk on margaritas.

Estar como Las Grecas – To be like Las Grecas

It’s an oldie which refers to Spanish psychedelic flamenco duo Las Grecas, who had the smash hit in the 70s “Te estoy amando locamente” (I’m loving you madly).   

The gipsy sisters were famed for having some pretty wild parties, so the expression can also be used to refer to someone under the influence of drugs. 

Use it like this: 

¿Cuántas llevan ya? ¡Están como Las Grecas! 

How many have they had? They’re wasted!


Llevar una castaña – To carry a chestnut 

Although castaña is usually used to refer to a chestnut, in old Spanish it also meant a recipient used to store liquids, and in modern colloquial Spanish a castaña can also mean a knock or blow. 

You can also say tener una castaña (have a chestnut), cogerse/pillarse una castaña (grab a chestnut), all of which mean to get very drunk. 

Use it like this: 

Anoché me pillé una castaña. ¡Menuda resaca!

I got sloshed last night. What a hangover!

Ir cocido – To be boiled

No secret to this one, you’ve got enough alcohol running through your bloodstream to be boiled over the kitchen hob like a beer-infused bratwurst. 

Use it like this:

Juan va cocido, se ha bebido media botella de ron. 

Juan is bladdered, he’s drunk half a bottle of rum. 

Photo: Tricia/Flickr

Ir piripi – To be tipsy 

This one’s is hard to find a literal translation for as the word derives from a term that no longer exists – piripitulia, an alcoholic drink. We initially thought it referred to a trumpet sound as that’s the kind of silly thing that people who are getting increasingly drunk would do. 

There’s also the verb pimplar, which means to drink excessively. 

Use it like this: 

¿Vas piripi ya? ¡Si no te has bebido ni media cerveza!

Are you already tipsy? You’ve not even drunk half a beer yet!

Estar mamado – To be sucked or breastfed

If there’s dribble oozing from your mouth from all the alcohol you’ve had, this is a suitable expression to use in Spanish.  

Use it like this:

¡Paso de ese borracho! ¿Va super mamado!

I couldn’t care less about that drunkard! He’s sloshed!


Estar morado – To be purple or bruised

As purple as the grapes that you’ve just consumed in fermented format, or as bruised as the grapes that were pressed to death for your enjoyment. Either way, here’s another colourful way of referring to someone who is pretty leathered. 

Use it like this:

Nos hemos tomado cuatro botellas de vino así que estamos bastante morados.

We’ve had four bottles of wine so we’re pretty bladdered.

Estar (borracho) como una cuba – As drunk as a barrel 

Apart from the name of the Caribbean country famed for its rum, cuba is also the word for a wine barrel or another recipient used to store liquids, usually alcoholic ones. Therefore, if your behaviour is resembling that of a booze-packed barrel rolling down a hill, this Spanish expression is appropriate. 

Use it like this:

¡Está más borracha que una cuba! No deja de balbucear.

She’s absolutely sloshed! She won’t stop slurring. 

how to say drunk in spanishPhoto: Michal Jarmoluk/Pixabay

Llevar una cogorza encima – to carry a funerary banquet

Nowadays cogorza is only used to refer to a drunken episode but in 15th century Spanish cogorça was a funeral banquet where it was already customary to drown one’s sorrows.

Use it like this:

¡Menuda cogorza que lleva encima! No se mantiene ni en pie.

He’s absolutely plastered. He can’t even stand up.

Borracho como una almeja – As drunk as a clam 

British English has the expression as drunk as a skunk (perhaps because of the alliteration), but this expression in Spanish perhaps makes a bit more sense as it compares the tanked person in question to a mollusc that is constantly imbued in liquid. 

Use it like this:

¿No te acuerdas de nada? Bueno, ibas borracho como una almeja.

You can’t remember anything? Well, you were as drunk as a skunk. 

Photo: Elmer Geissler /Pixabay

Dormir la mona – To sleep the monkey

Here’s how Spanish people refer to sleeping in after getting trollied the night before.

Pintar la mona, which in its literal sense means to paint the monkey, is also an expression Spaniards use to say they’re wasting time or procrastinating.  

It’s not 100 percent clear what the origins of this bizarre expression is but it’s more likely that it has something to do with a card game than with bringing a monkey home for a nap or some finger painting.

Use it like this: 

Mañana es domingo así que voy a dormir la mona hasta que me de la gana. 

Tomorrow is Sunday so I’m going to sleep the bender off to my heart’s content. 

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Spanish Word of the Day: Chungo

This adjective is essential slang talk in Spain, a word with lots of meanings, all of them fairly negative.

Spanish Word of the Day: Chungo

Chungo is a colloquial way of saying that something is difficult, dodgy or bad. 

It can be used to describe a variety of scenarios and it’s a great way of talking like a native Spanish speaker. 

You can talk about the weather being chungo if there are ominous black clouds up ahead.

If you’re stepping into a dodgy neighbourhood, then watch out because it’s un barrio chungo

If you bought a hairdryer at the rastro (flea market) and it doesn’t work properly, then it’s clearly chungo, and the seller is just as chungo.

Maybe you’ve just sat an exam with complicated questions, you’d call it un examen chungo.

Or if you don’t feel very well, then you’re the one that is chungo

There’s even an expression to say that things aren’t looking good – la cosa está chunga.

All in all, chungo is a very versatile adjective that you can incorporate into most daily speech even though it’s colloquial. 

Here are some examples to help you get used to using chungo.


Está el tiempo un poco chungo, mejor no vamos a la playa.

The weather isn’t very good today, it’s best if we don’t go to the beach. 


¡Ojo! Es un tío bastante chungo así que no te fíes de él.

Be careful! He’s a pretty dodgy guy so don’t trust him. 


Le has comprado un perfume muy chungo a mamá por el Día de la Madre.

You’ve bought Mum a really crappy perfume for Mother’s Day.


El barrio de El Príncipe en Ceuta es muy chungo, ¡ten cuidado!

El Príncipe neighbourhood in Ceuta is very dodgy, be careful!



Me encuentro un poco chungo, con mareos y nauseas. 

I’m feeling a bit bad, I’m dizzy and nauseous. 


¿Dama de honor cuando el novio es tu ex? ¡Qué situación más chunga!

Maid of honour when the groom is your ex? ¡That’s an uncomfortable situation!


¡La cosa está chunga! El Barça tiene que marcar cinco goles para clasificarse.

Things aren’t looking good. Barça have to score five goals to qualify.