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Half-seas Over

Almost up with one. Now applied to a person almost dead drunk. The phrase seems to be a corruption of the Dutch op-zee zober, “over-sea beer,” a strong, heady beverage introduced into Holland from England (Gifford). “Up-zee Freese” is Friezeland beer. The Dutch, half seeunst's over, more than half-sick. (C. K. Steerman.)

“I am half-seas o'er to death.”

Dryden.

I do not like the dulness of your eye,
It hath a heavy cast, `tis upsee Dutch.

Ben Jonson: Alchemist, iv. 2.

Source: Dictionary of Phrase and Fable, E. Cobham Brewer, 1894
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