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    #1

    The origin of 'pass water'

    Could someone let me know why "to pass water' means 'to urinate"? How did the phrase come about?

    Thanks.

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    #2

    Re: The origin of 'pass water'

    I presume it's just a euphemism, like waters breaking in pregnancy. I haven't come across an explanation for the phrase.

  1. BobK's Avatar
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    #3

    Re: The origin of 'pass water'

    It's two euphemisms (which boil down to one - as the the listener can only work out the meaning of the euphemistic 'water' in the context of the euphemistic 'pass')

    b.

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    #4

    Re: The origin of 'pass water'

    Thanks, Tdol and Bob.

    I agree with both of you. It would not sound polite if I said, "I want to pass urine" despite the fact that 'to urinate' means 'to pass urine'.

  2. 5jj's Avatar
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    #5

    Re: The origin of 'pass water'

    Quote Originally Posted by Tan Elaine View Post
    I agree with both of you. It would not sound polite if I said, "I want to pass urine" despite the fact that 'to urinate' means 'to pass urine'.
    Or, more simply, it means 'p*ss'. It's a sad fact about English that, in order not to offend certain people, I need to use an asterisk there. In French, the place that men pass water is often publicly labelled 'pissoir', and I have seen 'Pissort' in Germany.

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    #6

    Re: The origin of 'pass water'

    If I am not wrong, topics about urination and defaecation are taboo to Americans. They find the topics offensive.
    Last edited by Tan Elaine; 27-Jun-2012 at 09:27.

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    #7

    Re: The origin of 'pass water'

    They are not things that are spoken about in polite company.

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    #8

    Re: The origin of 'pass water'

    'Pass water' has to be the ultimate euphemism for this popular bodily function.

    I bet doctors hear it every day from their elderly patients, accompanied by an embarrassed blush.

    Rover

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