I was trying to explain to someone the English phrase:

He couldn't hold his alcohol (also liquor)

This means that one becomes drunk very easily. Are there any Russian idioms/expressions that are roughly equivalent?

  • 2
    The russian stereotype would have people believe that such a phrase is unnecessary...
    – Shadow
    Dec 4, 2017 at 23:52
  • 1
    To me "not being able to hold one's liquor" doesn't say anything about drunkenness, only about disposition towards vomiting. Dec 5, 2017 at 8:34

3 Answers 3


Его/её быстро "развозит". - He becomes drunk very fast. (Here is allegory to dirt road under rain).

Ему/ей и капли хватит напиться. - One drop of alcohol, and he/she will be drunk.

Слабенький попался. (Слабенькая попалась) - Weak constitution human that easy affected to alcohol.

Ему и пробочку понюхать хватит. - Smell a cork - and he's done!


There's a не умеет пить but it this is more with a stress on the fact that one behaves badly / inappropriately even when supposedly he/she hadn't drunk that much. Like in the following phrase (found in Internet):

Муж не умеет пить. То есть если выпьет больше одного бокала, скажем, вина или пива (водку не пьет), становится полным идиотом, дурачком и мудаком.

A more neutral way would be to just say быстро пьянеет (or, more casual, быстро напивается) - getting drunk fast.


От одного запаха [спиртного] пьянеет.

Just throwing it there.

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