Tribune Print Share Text

Three sheets to the wind

Created date

March 22nd, 2009

This saying, like so many others, derives its name from the world's long sea-faring tradition.

Often mistaken for sails, sheets actually refer to the ropes (or lines) used to secure the sails and trim them to the wind. Without this support, the sails would flail about tossing the ship side to side and rendering it difficult to control. Sailors completely smashed out of their minds on rum had similar problems. The straight line that most walked while sober became a jagged, erratic weave once Captain Morgan took hold of their senses. To this day, too much of any libation has the same effect on landlubbers and seafarers alike.

"He's usually three sheets to the wind by his third Martini."