Trellis White paper Ad 770 Spot #6
share TWEET PIN IT share share 0
Get to the Point!

When Your Vocabulary Gets Wasted

By Theda C. Snyder

No, we don’t mean your words go into the garbage. On the contrary, a tipsy vocabulary may enrich your communications. In the right case, soused language can be spot-on.


Getting sloshed has been part of the human experience almost for as long as there have been humans. This explains the hundreds of words we have to describe a process or condition almost everyone can relate to.

  • “As intoxicating as counsel’s argument may appear, the evidence does not support it.”
  • “We must not imbibe from the fiction-as-fact bottle.”
  • “If the city council continues to act like hammered bar-flies, the citizens will be the ones with the hangovers.”
  • “This theory has as much credibility as a boozer’s excuses for forgotten behavior on the morning after.” (Okay, that one may be over the top, but you get the idea.)

You may have never handled a case involving alcoholic beverages, but the metaphor can be useful in any circumstance. When you want to emphasize the outlandishness of your opponent’s position, inebriated terminology may help make your point in memorable fashion.

Not Drunk

On the other hand, some events can instantly clear a juiced-up stupor.

  • “The statistics on the lack of diversity among the defendant’s hires are sobering.”
  • “This landlord has apparently fallen off the equal-access wagon.”
  • “Abstinence can be a good thing, but not from regulatory compliance.”

You Can Indulge

Don’t get so carried away your argument loses credibility or appears unreasoned. Just as with IRL spirits, use alcohol-related words moderately. But there’s no reason to take the pledge.

Illustration ©

Subscribe to Attorney at Work

Get really good ideas every day: Subscribe to the Daily Dispatch and Weekly Wrap (it’s free). Follow us on Twitter @attnyatwork.

Categories: Get to the Point, Grammar, Legal Writing, Vocabulary
Originally published September 10, 2018
Last updated November 7, 2018
share TWEET PIN IT share share
Teddy Snyder Theda C. Snyder

Theda “Teddy” Snyder mediates civil disputes, workers’ compensation and insurance coverage cases, including COVID-19 related coverage disputes, in person or by video. Teddy has practiced in a variety of settings and frequently speaks and writes about settlements and the business of law. She was a Fellow of the College of Law Practice Management and is the author of four ABA books, including “Women Rainmakers’ Best Marketing Tips, 4th Edition” as well as “Personal Injury Case Evaluation” available on Based in Los Angeles, Teddy can be found at and on Twitter @SnyderMediation.

More Posts By This Author
MUST READ Articles for Law Firms Click to expand

Welcome to Attorney at Work!

Sign up for our free newsletter.


All fields are required. By signing up, you are opting in to Attorney at Work's free practice tips newsletter and occasional emails with news and offers. By using this service, you indicate that you agree to our Terms and Conditions and have read and understand our Privacy Policy.