15 Euphemisms for a Basic Body Function

Since I deal with all kinds of language issues here on Amaze-ing Words Wednesday, and I felt inspired by a recent post by Natalie Hartford, today’s topic is an odd one. In fact, I fear just a little who will find my blog from searching for terms in this post.

However, I’m here to serve. And when you are on a first date, dining with your in-laws, or attending a White House state dinner, you do not want to declare the following words: “I gotta pee.” Also forbidden is the even more crass: “I need to take a piss.”

*head smack*


No, no, no. While I’m not always in favor of euphemisms, basic body functions are best expressed with some other terminology that is appropriate for public. So to help you be better prepared, here are 15 euphemisms for the basic body function of peeing.

“Excuse me, I need to…”

1. Go to the bathroom. Although a misnomer for restaurants since there is no bath in there, this phrase gets the point across without details.

2. Visit the loo. It’s not just for Brits anymore. The loo is a lovely term for the toilet that even makes you sound a little like Kate Middleton Windsor or Prince Harry.

3. Take a leak. This is a bit crass, but a perfectly acceptable option for camping.

4. Empty (or void) your bladder. This seems to be the preferred euphemism of medical professionals asking you to pee in a cup.

5. Eliminate. Another medical professional favorite for those who don’t want to even use the word “bladder” for obtaining a urine specimen.

6. Go the ladies’ or men’s room. While this makes it sound like we are excusing ourselves to a room reserved for a gender-based social gathering, it’s a very common way to refer to your toilet visit in public.

7. Use the potty. Particularly common with children, this keeps your toddler from yelling, “My pee is coming out!” at the top of his lungs during dinner.

8. Powder my nose. I don’t know any woman who visits the bathroom specifically to powder her nose. However, this was the way toilet visits were referred by women in the “old days.” Believe me, it’s in a lot of black-and-white movies.

9. Relieve myself. After all, it is a relief at times to use the restroom.

10. Go number one. Who numbered them? I don’t think that was a favor to the English language. I’d leave this euphemism out of your lexicon.

11. Answer the call of nature. *Ring* Nature’s calling you to use the bathroom. Will you answer? You’d better.

12. See a man about a horse. Yes, I’ve heard this one. I suppose a cowboy invented this euphemism for peeing.

13. Make the bladder gladder. I saw this one in both Esquire magazine and more recently on a Buc-ee’s billboard. I’m not so sure about it. Does your bladder have feelings?

14. Tinkle. While this is most certainly a euphemism, it doesn’t work for me. I’m reminded of Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star and Tinkerbell with the sounds being too similar.

15. Take care of business. Now that’s getting down to the heart of it. You have personal, bodily business to attend to, and you must take care of it now.

And now for my next nervous moment…

So what euphemisms have you heard for peeing? Do you have a favorite from these? And remember that euphemism means “the substitution of a mild, indirect, or vague expression for one thought to be offensive, harsh, or blunt”–meaning it’s supposed to sound better than the original term.

Because I know there are a LOT of substitutions that sound worse. I have three guys living in my house. 😉

Source: Dictionary.com

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29 thoughts on “15 Euphemisms for a Basic Body Function

  1. I had a guy friend who once referred to it as “draining the lizard” and excuse me for the vulgarity of it but it was funny the first time he said it after that it was just stupid. 🙂

  2. ROLF!! I love it. Given that women peeing is the top search for my blog, I cringe at the thought of that this post will bring to yours. LOL!!
    Those are all fabulous and I’ve heard most. My favorite is gotta see a man about a horse. Love that. I’ve also heard:
    Gotta water the flowers.
    Drain the main vein
    Drain the hose
    Stellar post Julie and THRILLED to hear you are enjoying your crossbody. Squeee!!!

    1. Thanks, Natalie! I love the horse one too.

      P.S. The crossbody also holds my MP3 player so I can walk around with that too. I’m squeeeing about that!

  3. Oh, this is too funny, Julie, and thanks for the laugh of my morning. I always say, “I have to use the restroom”. I’m not exactly “resting” while I’m in that “room”, and don’t have a clue where they got THAT one, but it’s the one I use. I can’t help thinking “twinkle, twinkle, little star” when people say “tinkle”. Those images are irritating. I have found that guys use crass words for when they have to use the bathroom and I don’t talk that way. I’m not a priss, but I would never say, “I have to take a leak” in front of anyone! I think everyone can use the words “restroom or bathroom or loo” and not offend anyone else. That’s just my opinion.
    Patti

  4. Soooo funny, Julie!! I’ve heard of “draining the lizard” too as Audrey mentioned. I can’t really think of many more for going #1, but I can for #2… LOL

  5. Oh no, you’re channeling Natalie, LOL. Fun post Julie! You’ll have to do a spam post with all the searches you get after this.

    I’ve heard most of these. The wee beasties use the numbers. That Man will say his eyes are floating and excuse himself, though I doubt he does that in polite company (aka work). He also says he needs to lighten the load.

    LOL, I’ll just stick to using the restroom 🙂

  6. There is one my husband uses that has to do with a mule. It might even be the one you’ve listed about horses, just with “mule” substituted.

    The one I know has to do with women, and it’s really kind of disgusting. It’s “squat and spray.” What it’s referring to–if you don’t know–is women who hover over toilets in public restrooms and end up peeing all over the toilet seat. What they do not consider is that they are making the restroom even more unsanitary than it already was for any future visitors. But I’ll stop there since this is a pet peeve of mine. 😉

    Fun post.

    1. Seriously? Squat and spray? I think I’ve heard something about watering the lilies or something like that.

      P.S. Toilet covers are one of my favorite inventions, and if one isn’t available, I create one with toilet paper!

  7. I haaaaate the phrase “take a leak.” So many guys use it and I agree – it just sounds crass (and disgusting). I wish boys would just say, “I have to go to the bathroom.” I never knew what “see a man about a horse” meant, but I kind of like it. 🙂

  8. LOL at this post! My husband used to own a bar, so I’ve heard some good ones:
    “I’m going to be a potty animal.”
    “Gotta go check the plumbing!”
    “Time to go make more room,” (usually after finishing a beer)
    “I’m going to commit an act of urination.”
    “I need to make a deposit.” (This was at my workplace – might have been for the Other kind LOL)
    “Need to go see (or visit) john-boy.”

  9. My dad has always used “take a leak.” Now that we’re parents, hubby and I almost always say “got potty.” And my grandma alway said “number one.” My sister-in-law once referred to #2 as “dropping the kids off at the pool.” Classy she isn’t, lol.

  10. Love it! You can also say you’re going to “visit the throne room” (as in porcelain throne). I have a friend who say’s she’s “gonna go sit on the throne.” There’s also the old sailor “Hit the head” but that always sounded NAUGHTY to me.

  11. 1. I gotta shake the vinegar off the pickle.
    2. I gotta shed a tear.

    And from the amazing movie “the great outdoors” Dan Aykroyd: “Gonna introduce Mr Thick Dick to Mr Urinal Cake!”

  12. i learned ”have to get a haircut” from the woman i used to work with, she said her old boss used to always say it. i thought it was unique, but then i hear one of the callers on ‘car talk’ on npr last week use it, and the odds of it being her old boss are pretty slim so…i googled it but i cant wade through enough sites to find out anything!

  13. Hi, I was searching online to see if others had heard this one: “Go visit the Monsignor…” for number 2. So far I haven’t found a reference to it online.

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