Definition - drunk
It is important to remember, should you find yourself in the state of having over-imbibed, that the traditional number of sheets to be in the wind is three. This is the oldest, and the most dignified, number of sheets to have.
The whiskey blade has been harvesting, and as usual moistened his clay too freely with the juice of the rye, until he was about three sheets in the wind, when returning from the field in the zig zag line.
— Herald of Liberty (Washington, PA), 13 Aug. 1798
However! This does not mean that you cannot be some other number of sheets to (or in) the wind. Our records indicate that you can be two, four, five, or really any number you want.
First of all, sir, you must know I have been on a spree, and am about two sheets in the wind, and have lost my reckoning.
— The Christian Intelligencer (New York, NY), 8 Jan. 1842
And then they were nearly all most “deeply, darkly, beautifully blue,” inasmuch as the allowance they had taken was fully sufficient to last them over the night, and still keep them four sheets in the wind.
Boston Daily Bee, 6 Jan. 1843
Mr. Hall did not deny that he had been four or five sheet in the wind or that he curled up in a stairway and went to sleep, because the sidewalk looked altogether too steep and “jiggly” to walk upon.
— Daily Nonpareil (Council Bluffs, IA), 22 Sept. 1922
After some more talk he asked me to keep it quiet and then told me that on the Sunday before he was six sheets in the wind and that he had gone to Waukegan with Miss Forster and married her.
— Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, 12 Oct. 1926
They drank nothing but champagne, and as they commenced several hours before 1884 expired they were about nine sheets in the wind when ’85 arrived.
— Wheeling Register (Wheeling, WV), 8 Feb. 1885