Drunkard, inebriate, alcoholic, dipsomaniac, sot, soak, toper, tosspot, tippler designate one who drinks to excess.
Drunkard and inebriate suggest the habitude of intoxication but in themselves imply nothing about the causes or effects of such intoxication.
Alcoholic and dipsomaniac both denote a person with defective ability to control his use of intoxicants.
In technical usage alcoholic is the usual term and often specifically distinguishes the person physically and mentally impaired by compulsive drinking; in more general and often distinctly derogatory use it may approach drunkard and inebriate but normally carries at least some suggestion of loss of control.
Dipsomaniac, once nearly coextensive with alcoholic, is now little used except to denote a person subject to periodic bouts of compulsive drinking.
Sot and soak are closely comparable in implying excessive and habitual drinking.
Sot in addition suggests the dulling of faculties and degradation of habits that accompany such drinking.
Soak, on the other hand, may stress a spongelike capacity for intoxicants and even carry a hint of wry admiration; like the next two terms but unlike sot it may be used as a casual or even friendly epithet without connoting any strong disparagement.
Toper, tosspot, and tippler all imply habitual drinking but carry no inherent implication of intoxication.
Toper and tosspot commonly stress the conviviality and jovialness of group drinking (as in taverns and bars) and may suggest a capacity for heavy drinking without obvious intoxication.
Tippler carries the idea of light but constant and often secret drinking.