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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