“Veteran drudge” of The Baltimore Sun newspaper, John E. McIntyre, recently blogged a list of slang words for being drunk:
Lots of S words, apparently.
But what about slang for the opposite end of the imbibing spectrum?
teetotalism: the principal or practice of complete abstinence from alcoholic drinks
teetotaler: one who practices or advocates teetotalism
It’s a common mistake to think that teetotaler has to do with tea—as if one who does not consume alcohol hits up the teakettle instead. Actually, this term dates to the age of temperance societies (groups that pushed for mandatory abstinence from alcohol), with its first citation being in 1834.
As explained in the Online Etymology Dictionary, it is thought that teetotaler comes from the word totally. The tee in the front of the word is the sound of the letter T and was added for emphasis—as if to mean extra totally or totally totally.
Example: That teetotaler is extra totally BO-RING.