Drunk as a Skunk: The Curious Origins of This Idiom

drunk skunk looking upEver wondered where the popular idiom “as drunk as a skunk” comes from? A Brazilian friend told me today that, in Brazil, after raw sugar cane is harvested, they extract the juice ready to be made into the sugar we put in our coffee. It is also used to produce ethanol. Skunks apparently love this and if they drink enough, they appear drunk, hence the term “drunk as a skunk” or in Portuguese, bêbado como um gambá. 

I can find absolutely no evidence to support this but have no reason to doubt my friend. Has anyone else heard of this? I must confess, I’ve never even thought about it before… it’s so interesting that we use expressions such as this all the time but never think of the origins!

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Article updated on August 13, 2021.