To be blind drunk


Hello and welcome to another edition of SoundCzech – Radio Prague’s Czech language series in which you can learn idioms through song lyrics. With the New Year just round the corner, it might be the right time to check out a few phrases connected with drinking, which is, after all, an important part of most New Year celebrations. We’ll be listening to a song by Karel Plíhal and the phrase to look out for is “namol opilý”:

The phrase “namol opilý” means blind drunk. The word opilý is a neutral term for being drunk or intoxicated. Czech language is very subtle when it comes to describing various stages of being drunk. There is “přiopilý”– which means slightly drunk or tipsy, followed by “opilý”– drunk, and finally “namol opilý”– completely drunk. The word “namol” is only ever used in connection with alcohol, and although I have been searching hard, its etymology remains a mystery to me. Listen to the phrase once again:

Another synonym for being tipsy is “podnapilý” or “mít špičku”– which is a rather old-fashioned phrase and literally translates as “to have a tip”. Then there are of course a number of more expressive synonyms for being drunk, such as “ožralý”, “nakalený”, “nametený” or “namazaný”… But mind you, none of them are considered rude, unlike most of their English equivalents.

After a night of heavy drinking, Czechs usually wake up with a “kocovina”– that is – with a hangover. But we also use the phrase “mít kočku” or “mít opici”– literally to have a cat or to have a monkey. Again, it is not entirely clear why these animals have been selected to describe something as unpleasant as a hangover, but it might have something to do with the fact that they can be pretty loud. And I am afraid that’s all we have time for today. Thank you for listening and nashledanou.