Drunk dialing refers to an intoxicated person making phone calls that they would not likely make if sober, often a lonely individual calling former or current love interests.

In Kurt Vonnegut's 1969 novel Slaughterhouse-Five, the main character describes his tendency to drunk dial:

I have this disease late at night sometimes, involving alcohol and the telephone. I get drunk, and I drive my wife away with breath like mustard gas and roses. And then, speaking gravely and elegantly into the telephone, I ask the telephone operators to connect me with this friend or that one, from whom I have not heard in years.

In the 2004 film Sideways, Miles Raymond (Paul Giamatti) gets drunk and calls his ex-wife while at a restaurant. When he returns to the table, his friend Jack (Thomas Haden Church) asks him, "Did you drink and dial?"

Drunk texting, emailing, and editing internet sites are related phenomena, and potentially yet more embarrassing for the sender as, when the message is sent, it cannot be rescinded; the message may be misspelled (due to being drunk), and it might be reviewed and shared among many.

In media

The New York Post,[2] The New York Times,[3] and The Washington Post,[4] have all reported on drunk dialing. Cell phone manufacturers and carriers are helping callers prevent drunk dialing. Virgin Mobile has launched an option to help its users stop drunk dialing by initiating multi-hour bans on calling specific numbers[5] and the LG Group introduced the LP4100 mobile phone, which includes a breathalyzer.[6] Although the breathalyzer function was incorporated to help the user assess fitness to drive, rather than fitness to phone, the owner can program the LP4100 to restrict calls to specific telephone numbers on certain days or after a certain hour, a feature that might help limit drunk dialing by eliminating calls when the user is more likely to be intoxicated. This requires prior planning or awareness that one will become intoxicated at a later time. Some reports indicate that this phone, or a planned future version for U.S. release, would activate the call-blocking function in tandem with the blood alcohol content results from the breathalyzer.[7][8] A mobile app Drunk Mode was launched in April 2013. Drunk Mode prevents users from calling or sending messages to specific contacts for up to 12 hours. A reported feature also sets notifications every 30, 60, 90 or 120 minutes to remind users not to engage in certain "drunk behaviors".[9]


  1. ^ Vonnegut, Kurt (December 1991). Slaughterhouse-Five. Dell Publishing. p. 4. ISBN 0-440-18029-5.
  2. ^ Mary Huhn, "Call it TUI - Texting Under the Influence: High-tech hangovers haunt gadget geeks," New York Post, page 41, April 21, 2005
  3. ^ Carol E. Lee, The New Social Etiquette: Friends Don't Let Friends Dial Drunk (opinion column), The New York Times, January 30, 2005
  4. ^ Joel Garreau, Cell Biology: Like the Bee, This Evolving Species Buzzes and Swarms, The Washington Post, Page C01, July 31, 2002
  5. ^ Peter Rojas, Virgin Mobile wants to help stop you from drunk dialing, Engadget.com, November 30, 2004
  6. ^ Brian Haverty, If you drink, don't dial, CNet Australia
  7. ^ Keith Garvin, New Cell Can Tell If You're Drunk: Already a Hit in Korea, LG Releases Cell Phone with Built-in Breathalyzer, ABC News, June 27, 2006
  8. ^ David Brand, Firm aims to save drunk dialers from themselves, The Daily Free Press, Boston University, October 12, 2006
  9. ^ Jacquelyn Tanner (29 April 2013). "No More Drunk Dialing, an App". Top Mobile Trends. Retrieved 11 August 2016.