Past participle of drink.
a. Intoxicated with alcoholic liquor to the point of impairment of physical and mental faculties.
b. Caused or influenced by intoxication.
2. Overcome by strong feeling or emotion: drunk with power.
1. A drunkard.
2. A bout of drinking.
Usage Note: As an adjective, the form drunk is generally used after a verb such as be or seem, while the form drunken is used in front of a noun to modify it directly: They were drunk last night, but A drunken waiter at the restaurant ruined our evening. Using drunk in front of a noun is less formal, although the phrases drunk driver and drunk driving, which have become fixed expressions, are exceptions to this. Drunken also has a more general use, with the meaning "characterized by or related to alcohol or intoxication," as in a drunken sauce (one that has something containing alcohol, such as beer or wine, as an ingredient) or a drunken affair (a celebration in which the participants become drunk). Drunk generally does not have this meaning, although the noun drunk comes close, being a disparaging term for someone characterized by frequent drunkenness or alcoholism. A differentiation between drunk and drunken is sometimes made in legal language, wherein a drunk driver is a driver whose alcohol level exceeds the legal limit, and a drunken driver is a driver who is inebriated.
The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2020 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
Indo-European & Semitic Roots Appendices
Thousands of entries in the dictionary include etymologies that trace their origins back to reconstructed proto-languages. You can obtain more information about these forms in our online appendices:
The Indo-European appendix covers nearly half of the Indo-European roots that have left their mark on English words. A more complete treatment of Indo-European roots and the English words derived from them is available in our Dictionary of Indo-European Roots.