Now a phrase book for the overseas visitor has been produced with the aim of explaining English as it is really spoken, with no fewer than 65 words to describe alcoholic indulgence.
The tourist must think carefully about what he did last night. Was he merely a little sozzled or possibly sloshed or was he in fact absolutely steaming and maybe even slaughtered?
Jennifer Cox, of Lonely Planet, which publishes the book today, said that it wanted to give a real insight into the language and etiquette of Britain rather than just list the correct phraseology.
"We have produced similar books for Japan and Mongolia and we try to give a bit more than just a list of words," she said. "In Mongolia we give instructions on how to disembowel a sheep and spit roast a lamb and we were just giving the equivalent here.
"Of course some of it is tongue in cheek but there is an element of social anthropology as well. People need to know that getting tipsy with your grandmother is not the same thing as getting bladdered with your mates and that is what we are trying to explain."
However, the subtleties of the dozens of synonyms for getting drunk were lost on many tourists at the Tower of London yesterday.
Oliver Rathonyi, 26, from Vancouver, said he recognised some of the words in the list but would usually confine himself to the somewhat politer "sloshed" or "hammered". "Compared to the English we speak in Canada you have a lot of words for getting drunk and there is more slang here," he said.
Daniel Lehrer and Mark Debeljak, both 34, from Melbourne, said: "There are a lot of words for being drunk and there are in Australia as well but I would probably just stick to `tanked' rather than some of those words."
Tamas Bajaky, 24, from Miskok, in Hungary, simply raised an eyebrow. "I think just to say you were drunk is enough. I know that because of the song `drunken sailor' but I don't know these other words."
The list was so exhaustive that even the British were bamboozled. Several admitted that if someone told them they had been "buttwhipped" they would not know what to think. Mark Green, 32, from Todmorden, Lancashire, said: "This list is a bit over the top. I've heard of most of them but some of them must be regional."
Regional accents and regional slang are also given full coverage, with the guide saying that even the Prime Minister, Tony Blair, has lapsed into "Estuary English" by dropping his "Ts" while speaking of a "better Britain".
Perplexed foreigners are also informed of the different ways of saying "hello" - from "watcha" in London and "ay up" in Liverpool to "oroit, me old lover" in Bristol.
The guide also explains words such as "dog's bollocks" which is listed as meaning fantastic, as well as "pillock", which means idiot or fool, and "skanky" which means ugly, smelly, dirty or foul.Reuse content