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  1. BrunaBC's Avatar
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    #1

    Stool

    Hello,

    One thing that has always caught my attention is that, in the English language, very often one word has multiple meanings, like the word stool.

    It can either refer to a piece of furniture or solid waste from your body. How odd would it sound to go to a store to buy a couple of stools?

    Just today I came across the expression "fall between two stools" and couldn't keep a straight face.

    Ever since I've learned that stool is another meaning for feces I can't use it anymore, because I think people will associate it with its other meaning.

    Please tell me I'm not the one with a polluted mind.

    Thanks you.
    Not a teacher.

  2. emsr2d2's Avatar
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    #2

    Re: Stool

    Context. as always, would dictate the intended meaning. No one in a furniture shop would think you had gone in to buy faecal matter!
    Remember - if you don't use correct capitalisation, punctuation and spacing, anything you write will be incorrect.

  3. BrunaBC's Avatar
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    #3

    Re: Stool

    Thank you emsr2d2,

    I know it's all about context, but still, won't people associate the meaning?

    Maybe I am not used to it, because in my mother tongue, if one word happens to have another meaning, which is not very common, we would associate to the "funniest" meaning.
    Not a teacher.

  4. Piscean's Avatar
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    #4

    Re: Stool

    I agree with what ems said. There is also the point that most of us do not encounter the word 'stool' in the faecal sense unless we are talking to our doctor. If someone said, out of the blue, 'I found a stool on my front lawn', I would wonder why somebody was leaving a piece of furniture there.

    And, before anyone asks, once we have reached adulthood, few of us ever refer to stools at all by any word.

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    #5

    Re: Stool

    Lots of English words have more than one meaning. The type of humor that exploits this is the double entendre, a loanword corrupted from French that means "double meaning." Various words are susceptible to this, and some of them are common in everyday use. For example:

    breast - the chest of a vertebrate animal; the meat thereof ("chicken breast"); a mammary.
    lay - to set something down; to have a sexual encounter.
    balls - spherical objects used in games; testicles.

    There are dozens of others.
    I am not a teacher.

  5. emsr2d2's Avatar
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    #6

    Re: Stool

    As Piscean said, we would probably only refer to faeces as stools when talking to our doctor. Even then, what with us Brits being an easily embarrassed race, some people would use the word "poo" even when talking to a medical professional.
    I can certainly imagine the following dialogue in a doctor's office:

    Patient: I'm a bit worried. I found some blood in my poo.
    Doctor: OK, in that case, I'll need a stool sample from you.


    Recently, there was a TV programme in the UK in which a doctor moved in with a family for a weekend in order to look at their health, eating habits etc. Throughout the show, he used "poo" when referring to faeces. This might have been done to make the show more accessible to the general public but it was interesting that even though he was acting in his official medical capacity, he did not use the medical terminology.
    Remember - if you don't use correct capitalisation, punctuation and spacing, anything you write will be incorrect.

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    #7

    Re: Stool

    I thought faecal matter is uncountable.
    So is it possible for"fall between two stools"to refer to the faecal matter?
    I am not a teacher.

  6. emsr2d2's Avatar
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    #8

    Re: Stool

    "Stool" when referring to faecal matter is not uncountable. One single solid piece of human excrement is one stool.

    (I can't quite believe I'm having this conversation!)
    Remember - if you don't use correct capitalisation, punctuation and spacing, anything you write will be incorrect.

  7. Piscean's Avatar
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    #9

    Re: Stool

    Quote Originally Posted by tedmc View Post
    So is it possible for"fall between two stools"to refer to the faecal matter?
    No.

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    #10

    Re: Stool

    Quote Originally Posted by tedmc View Post
    So is it possible for"fall between two stools"to refer to the faecal matter?
    Even a comedian would be labouring to turn this into a pun.

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