phrases, sayings, idioms and expressions at

Phrases, Sayings and Idioms Home > Discussion Forum

Re: "What are they smoking?"

Posted by TheFallen on May 29, 2003

In Reply to: Re: "What are they smoking?" posted by ESC on May 28, 2003

: : : : : what is the derivation of the phrase "what are they smoking?"

: : : : It's a humorous slang expression of disbelief or amazement that refers to the practice of smoking drugs, and almost certainly marijuana or hashish, rather than anything stronger. So, if a friend of yours says or does something that to you seems surprisingly silly or bizarre, you might well say "What are you smoking?" (or over here in the UK, we'd more likely say "What have you been smoking?"), the humorous implication being that you think your friend must be stoned out of his head to act in such a way.

: : : Another (U.S.) way of saying a person is acting strange: He's off his medication. Or...The doctor needs to up his dosage. Etc.

: : After asking someone what they've been smoking I've often added "...and where can I get some?", implying that the drugs must be of a good quality and that they are truly stoned out of their minds. Just wondering...did I come up with something original here?

: I believe you have.

Similarly, in the UK (or London at least) we might say "I'll have a pint of whatever X is drinking."