American euphamisms — 39 Comments

    • I just had a wee vision – a little old dear at a very refined, select tea party.  She needs a dump but hasn't the courage to say so so she announces to the ensemble – "I have to go for a piss … and the rest".  Later, over time it got abbreviated.  I should stick that into Wiki Answers?

      • Going to shake the lettuce. Off to wipe the bush. Going for a slash. Taking a dump. Making a deposit. All terms used by ladies of my acquaintance. Hitting the head, navy term. Coiling a sausage, shipyard terminology, There must be more but my brain is keeping them hidden.

        • A male colleague at a former place of work (a boatyard, if you must know), once announced that he was going to visit the bog as he could "feel one trying to poke its head out".


          That should lower the tone somewhat….

  1. Many American descriptions of make sense only to Americans.

    Why, for instance, do they call mobile phones cell phones?

    Car boot = car trunk etc.etc.

    • Mossy,


      Back in the day, (mid to late 80's), we called them cell phones as well. We had Cellnet (BT) and Vodafone as operators. Cellnet used an analogue system and their cells covered a 15 mile radius. Vodafone went with the digital option and their cells covered a 25 mile radius.

      If you imagine a beehive, and the 'cells' they live in, it is an accurate description of the cellular telephone network, with each cell touching, or overlapping, the adjacent cell. When entering a cell, you are allocated a pair of frequencies, one to transmit, and one to receive. As you leave that cell, you are 'handed off' to the new cell you are entering. The hand-off is supposed to be imperceptible but in the old days, especially on the analogue network, you could hear a slight delay when it happened. Sometimes the call was dropped altogether if there were no available frequencies to allocate to your phone.

      In the late eighties, (we cellular telephone installers) called a fitted carphone a mobile, todays 'mobile' was called a portable phone, and there was a third option that weighed a ton. It had longer battery life and was called a transportable.

      All of which is to say: the Americans are right.

      It's called a cellphone because it uses the cellular network.


      • For fuck's sake, Ranty!!!  NEVER say the Americans are right.  It only encourages them.  They can't spell either.

        • 😀 Heh!

          All very interesting from CR. I remember my brother-in-law (an Estate Agent in Twickenham) had a mobile in the early 90s. It was fucking huge. And cost a fortune.


          I actually think that 'cell phone makes sense, although 'mobile' does too. The Germans call it a 'handy', which also makes sense in an oblique sort of way. The Greeks call it a 'kineto', which could happily translate as 'mobile'. It's actually quite an interesting subject – I might investigate what the various countries call their mobile phones. Yes, I know – I'm a sad old man…

          I've often wondered about this 'fuck / f*ck' business. It really is bloody stupid. I post fairly regularly on a Thai based forum, and the filters will happily accept 'f*ck'. Another oddity with these filters is that they will let through words like 'bloody' and 'bugger', but will censor 'damn' and 'hell'. It makes you wonder about the reasoning behind the software programming.

      • As far as I can remember both Cellnet & Vodaphone started out with analogue networks. They then introduced digital and for many years had the two systems running in tandem. At some point the other operators joined in with additional digital networks, running on higher frequencies, hence the development of dual-band handsets, which could operate on any network. 

  2. They are called rest rooms because at one time it was a lounge with sofas and chairs and after taking a shit you could hang out, read the newspaper, hold a conversation, do whatever one does in a lounge.  People smelled funny back then so sitting around in a rest room was not considered odd.

    Cell phones use a system of cell towers to connect to the phone system.  They are NOT Moe-bile phones, they are cell phones or cellys for short.

    A boot is something one wears on ones feet.  Preferably in pairs.

    I really wish the Brits and Irish and Aussies would learn to speak the language!


    • I confess I'm at a loss to explain the boot as part of a car.  I suppose it makes as much sense as a trunk?

      And who invented the language?

      • It's called a boot because cars were, in the early days at least, simply horse-less carriages with some kind of propulsion unit, and were a development of the carriage or coach of earlier days. A coach usually had a built-in compartment used originally as a seat for the coachman and later on for storage. This compartment was called a boot, but as to why it was, I have no idea.

        Surely, a trunk is something one puts in the boot…

        • Welcome Laurie!  The footmen were always perched on the back of the coach, so I wonder if there is a connection there?

          Leastwise, don't mind any of the American comments.  They haven't a clue what they're talking about.

          [The above is an example of how to piss off an entire continent with one simple paragraph!]

          • Arf! Always a bonus!

            Actually, I was thinking about this when I was walking to the pub last night (first night of the winter beer festival). If I remember correctly from the cowboy films I used to watch as a kid, wasn't the thing they slid their Winchesters into when on horseback called a boot, presumably because that's what it resembled?

            Taking the carriage theory forward, could the earliest "boots" on the back of carriages and carts have been a leather or canvas open-topped bag resembling a boot?

            Whatever, I can't believe I'm still thinking about this nonsense!

  3. Can't remember where or when I heard it, but on TV somewhere years ago anyway, and it was one of those black and white American shows … a young kid – with an exceptionally whiney voice – comes into the kitchen with that straight backed busybody march which is so depressingly familiar and bawls, "Mommy, John is going to the bathroom in the living room". Cracked me up; bet the little bastard's in politics somewhere now ….

  4. I'm going to the bog. That British euphemism is fine by me. Then there's an Irish expression: I'm going to see a man about a dog. I knew someone who drank loads of bottles of beer at parties and would saunter outside the house saying: I'm going to fertilize the flowerbeds. An eco-freak obviously.

    • Going to point Percy at the Porcelain?

      Eskimos are supposed to have forty words for snow, but I swear the Irish have more for going to the privvy, loo, bathroom, bog, jax or whatever?

  5. Can anyone explain to me why it's called the "loo" then?

    Trunks vs boots.

    Let's see now, there's a thing called a "steamer trunk" or a large piece of luggage called a "trunk" which is used to to put your stuff and sundries in when your traveling. Then there's a thing called a boot which, in the majority of cases, is a type of footwear that one uses when one wishes to tromp about the snow, mud, muck, pig sty or cow pasture. I've packed quite a lot of clothes and sundries in my "trunk", both steamer, luggage and car, but I've never packed clothes and sundries in my boot with the possible exception of one sock which, most of the time, had a foot in it.

    Arse? Ass? Either requires a PG13 rating. X-ratings require a lot of f*cking. Working your ass off? One tired burro. Working your butt off? One tired jackass.

    Butt end of a tree, cigarette butt, my butt, your butt, her butt? You expect to get to the bottom of this?

    Bonnet or hood? Petrol vs fuel? Well I'll tell you what, mister. When your car breaks down or runs out of gas late at night in the middle of nowhere, who really gives a rat's ass, arse, butt?

    Take a piss. Getting pissed? Fancy a fag, mate? Gather up some faggots, we need a fire here? You better damn well know where you're from or, more to the point, where the person you're talking to is from. Otherwise some arse, ass, butt kicking may ensue.

      • To Ireland I may come yet, sir. But I'll pass on the dare if it's all the same to you. I would much rather prefer enjoy my visit and not spend the time recovering from the results of a woman's fanny. (Nice tush, darlin'.)

    • The loo comes from French I gather. Le 00 (contracted spelt l'00) means room number 00, which is apparently the number of the whatsit in a French hotel or other public building.

      • I'll dispute that, Ger! In the days of timber-framed houses with overhangs, when people used to throw the contents of the pisspot out of the upper windows, they used to shout, prior to said throwing, "Gardyloo!", as a warning to those below. This was a corruption of the as-it-was-then French "Gardez l'eau", where l'eau is "water"…

  6. "Just announce you are going for a shit."

    Or shite……  Both work for me, although her indoors claims that this is too much detail for her delicate senses especially when she has just eaten……. 



    • I find the best solution is not to announce it at all.  They'll find out soon enough when the next person visits.  And then of course I deny everything.

  7. Did you know, The Merkins never dropped bombs, fired missiles of shot artillery rounds during the First Gulf War.

    General Schwarzkopf would announce at the evening Press Conferences, the days events where, for instance, that

    Aircraft from The USAAF had delivered 50,000lbs of ordinance to downtown Bagdad.

    FFS…..Howdy Maam, Uncle George's delivery service had a special order of Ordinance for ya. Where d'ya want it parked?

Hosted by Curratech Blog Hosting