SHANE’S EXCELLENT NEW WORDS (ENCORE EDITION): The amazing versatility of the word “piss” (PG-13).


I’ve been digging the opportunity to wear a COVID mask in public, while conceding that as a white guy, I can do it without being howitzered by those other white guys who take their bazookas with them to the bathroom to … that’s right, take a piss.

Not only is it socially responsible to wear a mask in times of pandemic, but it’s also a fun and enriching opportunity to take the metaphorical piss out of the know-nothings.

Wait, what was that?

Our lawyerly Shane’s not fluent in Commonwealth-speak?

No problem, big guy. Here at NA Confidential, we’re all about broadening perspectives and enhancing knowledge. Here’s the excellent definition, as first published here on May 9, 2018.

There’s one missing from Mojo’s list of British phrases: taking the piss.

Taking the piss is a Commonwealth term meaning to take liberties at the expense of others, or to be joking, or to be unreasonable. It is a shortening of the idiom taking the piss out of, which is an expression meaning to mock, tease, joke, ridicule, or scoff.[1] It is not to be confused with “taking a piss”, which refers to the act of urinating. Taking the Mickey (Mickey Bliss, Cockney rhyming slang), taking the Mick or taking the Michael is another term for making fun of someone. These terms are most widely used in the United KingdomIrelandSouth AfricaNew Zealand and Australia.

It’s probably a measure of testimony to the vitality of the English language that “piss” is so versatile.

Do You Confuse this Word in British or American English? (30 Uses of the Word PISS), by Chad (Real Life Global)

This is not only one of the most COLORFUL words in the English language, it can also be very USEFUL. But, be careful, because the difference between BRITISH and AMERICAN English can also make it confusing!

Apart from the literal meaning of PISS (to urinate), it can be used to talk about ANGER, INTOXICATION, JOKING, and a huge variety of other imporant uses and collocations. Even if you´re not going to use it, it’s a good idea to know how others use it.

In honor of the Triple Crown, let’s pause to recall that yes, a racehorse pees like a racehorse.

Does a Racehorse Pee Like a Racehorse?, by David Sessions (Slate)

The third leg of horse racing’s Triple Crown takes place on Saturday, with the running of the Belmont Stakes. Around 60,000 fans will be watching in Elmont, N.Y., as they put down beer and the track’s signature cocktails. Needless to say, they’ll probably be peeing as much as the racehorses. Wait, how much does a racehorse pee?

A lot.

As for the etymology … think “pissoir,” a public urinal in France.

piss (v.)

late 13c., from Old French pissier “urinate” (12c.), from Vulgar Latin *pissiare, of imitative origin. To piss away (money, etc.) is from 1948. Related: Pissed; pissing. Pissing while (1550s) once meant “a short time.”

City Hall was taking the piss when it omitted the pissoir from the farmers market. We were pissed, but now they park a portable pissoir there, and we have a place to piss, because after all, daytime on Saturday is the ideal slot to get pissed. Know what I mean?