Mate, get this piss up ya!

Piss is a dinkum aussie word meaning, among other things, alcohol.  The originals of the term are obscure, but some claim that there is some ancient link between urine and beer. A book on the English language published in 1691, A Collection of English words not Generally Used, contains the following definition: "To Leint Ale, to put Urine into it to make it strong". While you be assured that aussies have long abandoned this dubious practice, beer can nevertheless be considered to be as weak as piss eg. Bud is generally considered to be as weak as piss.  The worst thing about beer that is as weak as piss is that it is difficult to get pissed on it. 

All I have done was go out with the NSW team, drink a heap of piss and I got into a bit of trouble. We didn't do anything out of the ordinary of other bonding nights ... there were a lot of allegations, but I know I didn't do it, it's easy [to be targetted] because I am a football player and I was letting a little bit of anger off, but who gives a shit, mate, we won the comp.

Oh, brother: Mason sees his dream come true, Sydney Morning Herald, October 4 2004

An Aussie Enjoying a beer

A piss up is favourite among all ages denoting a group of people getting together for, among other things, the consumption of alcohol.  "hey bazza, julie's gunna have a bit of a piss up on Sat'dy. Ya wanna come round?".

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If someone is on the piss, then they are drinking.  It could either be used specifically, "Are we gunna get on the piss?" or it can be used generally, "Good news, he's back on the piss!". Similarly with off the piss, "That joker thinks if he gets off the piss he'll lose some weight".  If someone has a good tolerance to alcohol, or if they are used to consuming it, then they are said to be piss fit. It is interesting to note that in Australian culture we have turned something generally considered negative ("He drinks too much; he is bordering on alcoholism") into a positive: "Jeese, he's just sunk half a carton without blinking. He's piss fit all right!". But then again, if someone is considered to drink a lot, then they are considered to be a piss head or a piss pot. This isn't necessarily used in a pejorative sense, as seen here:

Eventually every house in the (North Sydney) area will have a bottle collection crate and we'll be collecting more than Mosman. As the Mayor told me, they're much bigger pisspots over here.

Garbage Collector (Garbo) Ron Walters, 1974 as quoted in The Ugly Australian, 1976.

The legendary prime minister Gough Whitlam provided us with a clever example of its use.  In the 1978 Commonwealth Heads of Government Regional Meeting a reception was being held for the Indian Prime Minister, Morarji Desia, who had recently admitted that he drank a pint of his own urine every morning for the benefit of his health.Gough upon hearing an Australian Jewish pollie state that he didn't want to stay too long at the reception, commented:

Oh, yes, that'd be right. A good temperate Jew like you would want to get away before all these Indians get on the piss.

Piss can of course be used in another context: if you take the piss (out of someone), you are making fun of them, or not being serious. It is perhaps for all of these reasons that a beer called piss was released in the late 90s.  Click here to read all about it. 

Finally, the omnipresent urinal is known as a piss trough, useful for going for a slash, pointing percy at the porcelain, walking the one eyed trouser snakedraining the lizard, hanging a leak or plain old going to the dunny.

Of course, as would be expected, Australians have held some impressive drinking records.

Take a break from drinking like the author of this article did - Read why and how in his book Between Drinks: Escape the Routine, Take Control and Join the Clear Thinkers