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Re: Wired and stoned...

Posted by ESC on February 09, 2000

In Reply to: Where does the Phrase "wired," come from? posted by Matt Osborne on February 09, 2000

: Where does the phrase "wired," come from, as in "Getting wired," or "stoned" for that matter?

: Thanks to anyone who can answer this.

I didn't find a definitive answer on this but here's what I did find:
WIRED/STONE - Stuart Berg Flexner, in "I Hear America Talking" (Von Nostrand Reinhold Co., New York, 1976) says words for intoxication can be grouped in three categories relating to how far along the drinker is: 1. Words for the initial, comfortable relaxed feeling. High, lit, etc. 2. Words for the stage of being unsteady on one's feet. Three sheets to the wind. 3. Words for the final stupor of being drunk. Smashed, stoned, etc. I would add hammered to the last category.

I think both "wired" and "stoned" were coined by an intoxicated/drugged up person trying to describe how he or she felt. Like wired might refer to the feeling that all of one's nerves are humming. Stoned, one feels like the victim of a stoning. Mr. Flexner says the word "stone" has meant "strong as a stone wall.completely" since the 13th century and was used in expressions like "stone blind" since the 14th. Maybe the word stoned for drunk (completely) grew from that.

"The Oxford Dictionary of Modern Slang" by John Ayto and John Simpson (Oxford University Press, New York, 1992) states that "wired" as meaning "under the influence of drugs or alcohol" is mostly a U.S. expression and cites a quote from 1977. They say "stoned" also originated in the U.S. and cite a quote from American author Jack Kerouac in 1952.

BTW, "Words" by Paul Dickson (Delacorte Press, New York, 1982) has a chapter with 2,231 terms for being drunk.