What is the origin of the term “Three Sheets to the Wind”?

Q – What is the origin of the term “Three Sheets to the Wind”?

An inebriated person is often said to be a certain number of sheets to the wind. Uncertain whether this is three or four, you still suggest that the expression comes from sailing.

Many have drawn this connection, because the line, or rope, controlling the trim of a sail on a sailboat is called a sheet.

The true origin of “three sheets to the wind” was disclosed to me by a Nantucket sailor.

Four sheets to the wind are O.K. because they are balanced.  So are two sheets now and then.  But three?  Never.

You must be logged in to post a comment.