Zodi’s Blog

Please stop taking the piss

Piss 18 times


Since I’m in London with very little access to a computer, I have to make the next few posts short and sweet.


Let me qualify this by saying that my wife is half British which gives me the right to make fun of and disparage the country, its customs, and its people for life. Or at least until my next divorce.


 I don’t know why, but I’ve found that many of the phrases they use everyday in the UK just don’t make any sense to me.  Today we’ll start with the ever popular ‘taking the piss.’


This is a phrase most often used in the form of a question, “Are you taking the piss?” Which of course means “are you making fun of me?” WTF? Where did this phrase possibly originate from? Why? Does it have any roots in Latin or Greek?


So what better fun could I possibly have while I’m here than by ‘taking the piss’ out of these lovely people by destroying their slang! The elderly citizens actually seem to get offended when you ask them, “are you taking a piss?” I can never get an answer. What a difference A/THE can make in a phrase!


Since I still don’t get it, I want to know so much more. Are you ‘taking the piss’ out of an individual, and if so is there a catheter involved; or are you ‘taking the piss’ from a fixed location, like a toilet or a cup?


Do you keep it, or is there a secret ceremony for piss disposal?  Why do you want the piss? Does it give you some sort of power or control of the person you took it from?


Does this have anything to do with the piss in the phrase ‘piss and vinegar’ as in “that young man is filled with ‘piss and vinegar?’ So if you take his piss does that somehow emasculate him?


So if the pissing and taking of the piss is so important, does that make the ‘golden shower’ fetish more revered here? Or would that be just ‘giving the piss’ because it’s done willingly, and thus diminish the value of the piss?


So far I can’t get a straight answer to any of these questions to save my life. Every time I ask they just accuse me of ‘taking the piss’ and I’m right back where I started!


June 16, 2009 - Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , ,


  1. Yes, the Harry Potter books are filled with little colloquialisms like this. And yes, the greatest percentage of my British culture knowledge comes from Harry Potter.

    Comment by Shawn | June 16, 2009 | Reply

    • I had no idea that Potter and his friends ‘took the piss.’ Maybe I should give those books a shot after all. Do they also get ‘pissed?’ If so, I’m sold.

      Comment by Scott Oglesby | June 17, 2009 | Reply

      • I would recommend you steer clear of Harry Potter. You’ll be sorely disappointed, pissing or no.

        Comment by barelyknittogether | June 19, 2009 | Reply

  2. Wow, and I thought Brent was weird for calling the vacuum cleaner a God Damned “sweeper”.

    Turns out Ohio ain’t so bad after all. 😉

    Comment by candice | June 16, 2009 | Reply

    • Wow Candice, Brent must be from southern Ohio? At least somewhere close to my beloved (and behated) Pittsburgh. Does he also say ‘pop’ for soda, ‘Gumbands’ for rubber bands, and chipped chopped ham for thinly sliced lunchmeat?

      Comment by Scott Oglesby | June 17, 2009 | Reply

  3. I’m thoroughly pissed… how can you be half British?

    Comment by Ramblin' Rooster | June 17, 2009 | Reply

  4. Don’t worry Rooster; I’m not half British, my wife is. I am a half Italian, half Irish mutt. The same combo as Henry Hill. Yea!
    I also just remembered that ‘pissed’ also means ‘drunk’ over here. So are you drunk and also mad, are you sober and irate, or are you pissed and also taking the piss? Has anyone ever successfully taken the piss while taking a piss?
    PS My wife has informed me that she is 100% British, because she was born and raised here. Great; now she’s pissed. I hope she doesn’t go off and get pissed, only cheers up and takes the piss!

    Comment by Scott Oglesby | June 17, 2009 | Reply

    • That’s just pisser now ain’t it? Tell her it’s better to be pissed off than pissed on!

      Comment by Claire Collins | June 18, 2009 | Reply

      • It depends what you’re into, but yea, she’d agree.

        Comment by Scott Oglesby | June 18, 2009 | Reply

    • I’m glad our little stint produced your wife’s conversion to FULL BRIT.

      Comment by Ramblin' Rooster | June 18, 2009 | Reply

      • I’m a little surprised she went that route, really. She is 1/4 Jamaican. I know if it was me; that’s where I would claim my heritage! Who wouldn’t?

        Comment by Scott Oglesby | June 18, 2009 | Reply

      • I’d guess that neo-Nazis wouldn’t claim Jamaican heritage and that guy who hangs out at the bus stop.

        Comment by Ramblin' Rooster | June 19, 2009 | Reply

  5. Uh no, Scott. Thankfully he stopped at “sweeper”, otherwise I’d have to kick him in the nuts daily.

    Comment by candice | June 17, 2009 | Reply

    • I don’t know why you’d kick Brent in the nuts for weird language habits; that’s harsh. Although, if you were wearing the hair rollers, some big leather boots, and that new lip liner and eyebrow whiz-wham then maybe that would be okay. I’m not sure. It would be hard to ‘take the piss’ or even take a piss if you were always getting kicked in the balls.

      Comment by Scott Oglesby | June 17, 2009 | Reply

  6. Ripping post, old bean! Capital, eh wot! Dead brilliant, bloody brilliant and smashing! Dare I say, gigidy! Positively gigidy-gigidy-goo! (I’m half English. Oh, and I’m saying this like Quagmire would with an English accent!)

    Comment by alantru | June 17, 2009 | Reply

    • I’m scared. I heard Quagmire saying it as I read it.

      Comment by Claire Collins | June 18, 2009 | Reply

    • Perfect, I agree with Claire and could literally hear Quagmire saying it in a British accent. It is glorious. Brilliant. Smashing. I’m just so happy that my little experiment is catching on!

      Comment by Scott Oglesby | June 18, 2009 | Reply

      • I have to say, I heartily agree with your thoughts on Family Guy.

        Comment by alantru | June 19, 2009 | Reply

  7. if all else fails you could just tell them to “piss off”. The Brits know what that means

    Comment by Candy | June 17, 2009 | Reply

    • Candy- even I know what that means! Should I tell them to ‘piss off’ after I get ‘pissed,’ or while I’m ‘taking the piss,’ but before I get all pissed off? I can never figure out the timing. Thanks for commenting!

      Comment by Scott Oglesby | June 18, 2009 | Reply

  8. This was fabulous, Scott. Laughed so hard I pissed myself. Off. Or, something.

    I’m half Irish half Italian and one quarter German. God help ye, son.

    Comment by barelyknittogether | June 19, 2009 | Reply

  9. I’m Welsh on both sides, which means I have crooked teeth, an affinity for tweed, and know how to get pissed. Jolly good Scott.

    Comment by fundamentaljelly | June 20, 2009 | Reply

    • Thanks fundamentaljelly! I somehow didn’t picture you being a tweed wearing Welsh surfer! Even cooler. And of course you know how to get pissed. We’ll have to have a drink if I ever start back up again! I took a year off, but It’s doing me good, so it may be longer.

      Comment by Scott Oglesby | June 20, 2009 | Reply

  10. BKT- Irish, Italian, and German, God help us all! I thought I was genetically cursed. Oh well, at least I’m not the only one. I thought so once I saw your picture; we are pretty people aren’t we? Which goes good with being a violent alcoholic superstitious nutjob. But I only speak for myself!

    Comment by Scott Oglesby | June 20, 2009 | Reply

    • Not only for yourself, Scott. You pretty much nailed it. Except I’m not superstitious. I’m obsessive-compulsive, so I do things most people would consider superstitious but I have VERY GOOD REASONS.

      We are pretty indeed. Pretty fucking wrecked.

      Comment by barelyknittogether | June 21, 2009 | Reply

  11. […] I had a long argument last night about the existence of hovercrafts. I was positive that she was taking the piss out of me. I could have ended it (and lost) with a 3 second google search but why take the painless […]

    Pingback by This is the Future? « Zodi’s Blog | July 17, 2009 | Reply

  12. […] Ramblin’ Rooster requested this one, I thought that maybe he was taking the piss. After a little research I was surprised that this phrase is actually quite popular in low income […]

    Pingback by The Origin of Phrases II « Zodi’s Blog | November 4, 2009 | Reply

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