Can any U.S. English speakers tell me how the current use of the word 'pissed' for 'angry' arose? In England we say that someone 'is pissed' when they have had one too many alcoholic beverages, and 'has pissed' when they have urinated. This causes a good deal of confusion whenever I travel to the U.S. A month ago, for example, I took my elderly mute and slightly incontinent father to visit relatives in Chicago. We all had a few drinks in a bar on the first night, and then decided to see some of the sights of the city. After walking a few miles, something appeared to be troubling my father. One of our U.S. relatives said, "I think he's pissed." Because they used the contracted form, 'he's', I didn't know whether they meant 'is pissed' or 'has pissed', but decided that it was better to be on the safe side and drive him back home. Unfortunately, I crashed into a car coming the other way (I forgot that you drive on the wrong side of the road in the U.S.), and was arrested for drink-driving. My father sustained some minor injuries to his neck and chest. It was only later that I found out that they meant 'is pissed' in the U.S. sense. I had inserted his catheter the wrong way round!
Here's the deal on "pissed"....This isn't so much for Hythloday since he's a native speaker, but for those who are unsure about the U.S. vulgar slang:
"He's pissed off" (He is angry).
"He's pissed." (This can also mean 'he's angry' or 'he just took a piss', in which case it would be the past tense of the verb 'to piss'. It depends on the context in which it's used....generally "he's pissed" means "he's angry").
"to take a piss" (to urinate)
"he's pissed himself" (he has urinated in his pants)
"to piss away" (to fail or to waste)
Examples: "I pissed away my grade on that exam." (I really fucked up that exam). "I pissed away 50 bucks on that shitty stereo." (I wasted fifty dollars on that bad stereo).
As to the origins of how "pissed off/pissed" came to mean angry, I'm not sure. I'm sure the answer is somewhere out there in cyberspace.
Oh, one more:
"He/She is in a pissy mood." (He/She is in a bad mood)
We have 'pissed up' (drunk) and 'pissed off' (angry). Are U.S speakers just missing off the 'off'?
I've also heard "he pissed himself" used figuratively, to mean that somone was really surprised or frightened, & I've heard "piss drunk" as well, to mean really drunk.
Don't forget the quite rude remark "Piss off!" meaning "Get lost!" Rather common in my Australian days and I should imagine of neat British descent.
No, to piss yourself means to be highly amused, to shit yourself means to be scared.
We have 'pissed up' (drunk) and 'pissed off' (angry). Are we just missing off the 'up'?
Yes, I believe the American 'pissed' came from 'pissed off'.
Actually, here in the San Francisco Bay Area, 'pissed off' is more common than just 'pissed' and 'piss off' is a very common command.
Do you have piss away (meaning to waste, usually money) too?
A very young flooder is currently operating in this forum.
Piss-head is quite widely used in Britain. I should know, I am one!
There is an old american expression,
that so and so is full of piss and vinegar.
It means more than cranky. Sarcastic, belligerant in an non-vile, non-violent way. He reacts to any slight with a sharp tongue.
A non-violent anger. harangues. Argumentative
Anyway, that is the root sense of "pissed off".
Some one who is full of piss and vinegar is giving you a piece of his mind.
You are right. when we Americans say someone is "pissed", the understood meaning is "pissed off".
I have never even heard "pissed up" over here.
Regards, Paul V.
In Australia you wouldn't say that you were "pissed up" but you would say that you were having a "piss up". A "piss up" is a drinking party. What you do at a "piss up" is get "pissed". Before the "piss up" you're obliged to "piss away" some of your money on "piss". You then take this "piss" to the party and drink it. After your poor unfortunate liver is through with it it comes out as "piss" but be careful not to "piss yourself" or you'll have a rather soggy time for the rest of the afternoon/evening. Also be extra careful not to "piss" on anyone else or else they might get "pissed off" at you. It's better not to get "pissed off", though, whether you're at the party or not.