tired and emotional: Idiom Meaning and Origin

What does ‘tired and emotional’ mean?

The idiom "tired and emotional" refers to someone who is drunk or intoxicated. It suggests that the person's judgment or behavior may be affected due to their inebriation.

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The Hidden Significance

The idiom "tired and emotional" originated in British English and is commonly used to describe someone who is visibly inebriated or overly emotional due to intoxication.

When someone is "in one's cups," they are experiencing the effects of alcohol. This idiom is often used synonymously with "tired and emotional" to describe someone who is visibly intoxicated and exhibiting behavior that may be considered inappropriate or unrestrained.

Similarly, when someone is "in a right state," it means they are in a state of extreme emotional distress or agitation. This idiom can be used interchangeably with "tired and emotional" to convey that someone is not only intoxicated but also experiencing heightened emotional sensitivity.

Another related idiom is "under the influence," which is often used to refer to someone who is intoxicated by alcohol or drugs. This phrase can be used alongside "tired and emotional" to describe someone who is visibly under the influence and displaying emotional intensity.

Additionally, the idiom "sick and tired" can be used in a similar context as "tired and emotional." It reflects someone's frustration or weariness with a particular situation or person, often indicating an emotional exhaustion that may also be accompanied by physical fatigue.

To further emphasize someone's exhaustion, the expression "dog-tired" can be added. This idiom highlights extreme fatigue and can be used alongside "tired and emotional" to describe someone who is not only intoxicated but also physically drained and emotionally overwhelmed.

It is worth noting that "tired and emotional" is an idiom with a strong cultural connection to British English. However, it has also gained recognition in American English, albeit to a lesser extent.

The origins of this idiom are unclear, but it gained popularity in the 1920s and 1930s, particularly in British newspapers and literature. It was often used in comic and satirical contexts, mocking the behavior of the upper class and their perceived excessive indulgence.

The idiom's association with intoxication and emotional expression provides insight into societal attitudes towards these phenomena. It allows for a wide range of interpretation and contextual usage, making it a versatile linguistic tool in both formal and informal settings.

To summarize, "tired and emotional" is an idiom that describes someone who is visibly intoxicated or overly emotional due to drinking. It shares similarities with idioms such as "in one's cups," "in a right state," "under the influence," "sick and tired," and "dog-tired." While its origins are uncertain, it gained popularity in British English and has been recognized, to a lesser extent, in American English. The idiom's evocative nature and cultural associations make it an effective tool for conveying intoxication and emotional intensity.

Example usage

Examples of how the idiom "tired and emotional" can be used in a sentence:

  1. She arrived at the party last night already tired and emotional, and ended up causing a scene.
  2. After a long day at work, John came home feeling tired and emotional, and started crying without any apparent reason.
  3. During the heated debate, the politician became tired and emotional, making several irrational statements.

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