Some words for hangover, like ours, refer prosaically to the cause: the Egyptians say they are “still drunk,” the Japanese “two days drunk,” the Chinese “drunk overnight.” The Swedes get “smacked from behind.” But it is in languages that describe the effects rather than the cause that we begin to see real poetic power. Salvadorans wake up “made of rubber,” the French with a “wooden mouth” or a “hair ache.” The Germans and the Dutch say they have a “tomcat,” presumably wailing. The Poles, reportedly, experience a “howling of kittens.” My favorites are the Danes, who get “carpenters in the forehead.” In keeping with the saying about the Eskimos’ nine words for snow*, the Ukrainians have several words for hangover. And, in keeping with the Jews-don’t-drink rule, Hebrew didn’t even have one word until recently. Then the experts at the Academy of the Hebrew Language, in Tel Aviv, decided that such a term was needed, so they made one up: hamarmoret, derived from the word for fermentation. (Hamarmoret echoes a usage of Jeremiah’s, in Lamentations 1:20, which the King James Bible translates as “My bowels are troubled.”)
-- From "A Few Too Many," about the causes of, and putative remedies for, hangovers, by Joan Acocella, The New Yorker, May 26, 2008. One over-the-counter "all-natural prevention formula," NoHang, comes in several package sizes, including the Bender (12 tablets), the Party Animal (24 tablets), and the It's Noon Somewhere (48 tablets).
*The Eskimos' nine words for snow? In the old formulation, it was always "hundreds" or "dozens." Perhaps linguist Geoffrey K. Pullum, tireless debunker of the great Eskimo vocabulary hoax, is finally making inroads.