The Museum of Menstruation and Women's Health
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Words and expressions for menstruation around the world

Send contributions from any culture and language! Write as much as you know about the words, including
who uses it (women and/or men), where used, origin, etc. But send it even if you don't know more about it.

* means the word or expression has not been used in real life, supposedly.

America (United States of)
Other countries are below this listing in alphabetical order

(a=from The Curse by Karen Houppert; book information is at the bottom of this page.)
SEE ALSO at the end of the America section a letter with too many entries to put on at once; I tried (July 2005).
See also an excerpt from a Dutch book about words and expressions for menstruation.

ATTENTION: for terms Puritans used in the U.S. and England see Dr Sara Read's contributions.

AF "As I pointed someone to your site to read about all different names for menstruation because she asked what AF stands for, I guess it belongs in your list of words for menstruation. It is the abbreviation for Aunt Flo that some women use on Internet," writes a Dutch frequent contributor to this site. "Flo" of course is short for [menstrual] Flow. (March 2004)
A friend comes to visit read about a film with this title
Are you in need? "When I was in college in Berea, Ohio, if my female friends or I discreetly asked for a tampon or a pad, we would get the equally discreet response, 'Are you in need?'" writes the 26-year-old contributor from Parma, Ohio. (April 2001)
A little ketchup with my steak "I had a boyfriend who lustily referred to it as 'a little ketchup with my steak.' Those Arizona boys do like a little ketchup and a lot of steak. Thought you might like a little extra positive terminology for your wonderful site. Thanks, ******* (now a New Yorker)," writes the contributor. She entitles her e-mail containing this information "That thing, that thing." (February 2002)
A snatch box decorated with red roses (a) "snatch" and "box" are both vulgar terms meaning "vagina" in American slang
Ammunition "Hi! First off, great site! I don't know if you're still collecting data, but I figured I'd email you in case you were. When I was a pre-teen and teen, my dad referred to tampons as 'photons,' which led to us calling pads and tampons in general 'ammunition.' So if we were packing for a trip, he'd always ask 'Do you need to pack any ammunition?' (I'm 23 and from Oregon.) Have a great week!" (October 2006)
Antietam "Hello, I don't know if you are still collecting these, but the two I most
often use are absent. They have both been created by me, but are related to
historical circumstances: Antietam: The Battle of Antietam during the Civil War is often considered the most costly single-day battle in terms of life loss on American soil.
Whenever I refer to that time as 'Antietam' and somebody raises an eyebrow
in confusion, I get that look on and say 'bloodiest battle of the war.'
[the] Badger is Angry: This euphemism arises from when I was studying Greek medical thought in regards to female anatomy. Plato is quoted as remarking: 'In the middle of the flanks of women lies the womb, a female viscus, closely resembling an animal...' and goes on to talk about how they would burn incense under a woman's parts or have the woman inhale smelling salts to get the internal creature to move this way or that. A diagram of these thoughts that I once saw looked like a badger, and I am also unfortunate to get very bad cramps, so sometimes I say that the badger is very angry. I'm sure a million more things could be said as to why there are so many
ways we avoid the issue of a bleeding woman behind so many word screens,
but thank you for collecting them." (November 2012)
Are you seeing red? (a)
At high tide "Performance artist Laurie Anderson has a song 'Red Dress' in which she says 'at high tide,' her euphemism for menstruation," writes the male contributor. (July 2001)
At war "I'm a college student and my roommate always uses the term 'at war' when she's on her period. All of the girls on my hall now use the term," writes the contributor. (February 2002). In September 2004, a male wrote the following: "For the entry "at war," I'd like to add that it may locally have been derived from an Ani DiFranco song / monologue:

I woke up one morning
covered in blood like a war
like a warning
that I live in a breakable takeable body ...

I don't recall the title and am not near my CD collection at the moment, but if you'd like the reference, just e-mail me back here and I'll look it up."
Attracting the lesbian vampires see Moon's blood
Aunt Aggie used by a writer to the Would you stop menstruating if you could? page on this site (December 2002)
Aunt Fanny from a contribution to Would you stop menstruating if you could? : "My last child almost killed me (through the birth process), and I had a necessary tubal ligation in my mid 30s to prevent further pregnancies. At 43 years old, my periods have always been irregular, so it is always a surprise when Aunt Fannie comes to visit again, usually after 25-45 days." (April 2010)
Aunt Flo[w] [is visiting, etc.] (a) Flo is a short version of the name Florence. A contributor e-mailed MUM (March 2002), "I traveled to London on business. Of course, Aunt Flow had to come along." See also Gramps. "I am sure that you have heard this one before, but when I was about 16 or so, if someone had their period and didn't want to join in an activity or whatever with us, we would say, "Oh, I'm sorry, I have a visitor this week, my Aunt FLOW is here!" and the rest of us would know right away why. It was a nicer way of saying it. Instead of "I got pms," plus the boys didn't know what the heck we were talkin about! Love your site, D in Germany." (February 2007)
Aunt Flo sent someone else in her place "My friend and I use the term 'Aunt Flo' (which I saw on your site) for menstruation but have several related words/phrases which I didn't see which we use for other aspects. We call pads or tampons 'welcome mats.' We call cramps 'muscular turbulance.' When I got pregnant, I told her 'Aunt Flo sent someone else in her place.' We use the term 'reservations' to refer to the time we expect menstruation to start. Oh, I'm from the U.S." (January 2004)
Aunt from Reading was in town "I'm from Pennsylvania and a friend of mine used to say that her 'Aunt from Reading [a town in Pennsylvania, I believe pronounced Redding] was in town'! I loved that and use it all the time!" (March 2005)
[My] Aunt Flo from Red River is visiting see below, My Aunt Flo from Red River is visiting.
Aunt Irma
"There's a British TV show called 'The IT Crowd' in which an entire episode
is entitled 'Aunt Irma'. It's quite funny and has a few more euphemisms in
it (I'd highly recommend it). Also I called it 'inauguration' for a while when I first began my courses, because my friends joked that I'd finally been inaugurated into womanhood. And my husband just calls it 'icky'".  She later wrote, "I'm actually from Missouri. The term 'courses' just seems a little more genteel than 'period' or 'menstruation'; a bit more... delicate,  less
likely to offend or gross out - although, I suppose you aren't really easy to gross out about this particular subject... :D. Admittedly, it is a seldom used term, however, a lot of genteel-sounding
language is not really used these days. :D. Thanks, ****. P.S. I kind of put that last one in there as a joke (icky), but the other morning, I was  talking to my husband and he actually used the phrase 'You're icky right now.' So I guess it does count."
(November 2012)
Aunt Martha
from the title of a painting by Judy Jones in the Art of Menstruation series on this Web site; she said that was the term "we" used for menstruation (August 2002)
Aunt Ruby The woman contributor, from King of Prussia, Pennsylvania (U.S.A.), wrote, "We call it Aunt Ruby; lots of people say their aunt is visiting, and we added Ruby after a character on General Hospital [an American television program] back in the 1980s. We always used to laugh at her name and say it sounded like a period. Now it's my family's favorite way to refer to it." (2000)
Aunt Sally "Aunt Sally is one that my friends and I often use. I have a great aunt named Sally, who always meant well, but was constantly messing things up. and overstaying her welcome. I think that it's a very appropriate name for such a time. By the way, I'm 13 years old," reads the e-mail. (November 2001)
Aunt Tilly is here (a)
[The] Axe wound "This one is my favorite. My brother came up with it. He calls it ...The Axe Wound." (July 2008)
Bad week. "My delicate husband and I refer to it as 'bad week' and I always warn him that I need to get some 'woman things' from the store. I am in my early 30's and as a teen we called it raggin'." (August 2006)
Back in the saddle again "When I was a teen and the common protection consisted of the elastic sanitary belt and pad, we referred to being 'Back in the saddle again.' That was in Texas and Oklahoma," commented the contributor. (April 2001) See also a comment under Period. Contributed again in March 2005: "My mom always likes to sing the phrase from the old song 'back in the saddle again.' - ha." I believe "cowboy" Gene Autry sang it on his radio show.
[the] Badger is Angry see Antietam
see Ugly Sister
Band-Aids "'Your friend': this term is used by my mother, aunts, and their cousins. And we need 'Band-Aids' when it gets here." (November 2002)
The banks of the Nile are overflowing and running red from "I'm having my euphemism" by Donna Lypchuk in the Eye Weekly (4/20/00) at (April 2004)
The beast the contributor writes, "I call it 'the beast.' *giggle* I just thought it was appropriate and have been saying it for years. My girlfriend calls it her 'visitor' or 'being visited,' but you already have that one." (July 2001)
Been there, doing that the contributor, "some 14 2/3-year-old girl from Texas," e-mails, "What my friends and I say when we are on our periods is 'Been there, doing that.' The 'been there' part offers consolation to those who recently were on it or had cramps previously, while the 'doing that' part refers to the fact that you are on your period currently. None of the guys have been able to identify what we are talking about, so I guess it is a pretty good nickname for our monthly 'friend.' We use the expression at school, normally to give an explanation for doubling over in class, or as a sign, 'Hey, do you have a tampon/pad I could use?' Us girlees use it, and I think the origin came from just joking around and saying, 'Well, I'm "doing that,"' and it eventually metamorphazised into 'Been there, doing that.' Been there, doing that . . . ." She added, "Just a note for all you gals out there: I only started a year ago, so don't worry when you are 12 and you haven't started! So what if all your friends started. You can go swimming without fretting! It's not that big a deal. Sometimes it's only a big PAIN, (J/K) but not in the butt." (June 2001)
Being a girl
see I hate that blue car (September 2001)
Being a lady the contributor writes, "I didn't see this one listed on your site; I saw it some years ago in a young adult novel that involves time travel. I don't remember when exactly it was set, but the terms 'lady days' and 'being a lady' were used, and now I use those terms for my own (unpublished) writing which takes place mid-century." (May 2002)
Being a woman "My partner and I refer to our periods as 'being a woman,' as in 'Are you being a woman yet?' and 'I'm being a woman.' I can't even remember the origin - sort of an ironic outgrowth of all of that 'Girl, you'll be a woman soon' kind of goosh that becoming informed about menstruation in the 70s included," wrote the contributor. (March 2001)
Being drafted see I'm gifted
Being female see Drainage
Being girly see Driving in a red car
Being touched by the Goddess see Moon's blood
Being unwell the contributor e-mailed (September 2000), "When I was a teenager in Queens, New York, in the 1960s, we sometimes referred to having a period (menstruating) as "being unwell." "We" were mostly white, working-class girls going to a public school. [Germans also say that, "unwohl sein."]
Being womanly see Drainage
Big Red "My friends and I call it 'Big Red,'" writes the contributor. (December 2001)
[The] big red monster is in town "I'm a 19-year-old female from northeast Ohio and I'm writing to tell you what some of the terms I use are. Whenever I'm on my period, my fiance always says "The big red monster is in town" and whenever he tries to initiate sex during that time I tell him 'I'm closed for the holidays '(referring to a time when he tried to initiate on a holiday). Other fond terms of it are the 'bitch-maker,' 'Midol season,' and the 'no-go zone.'" [March 2005]
Bitchy witchy week "In 2001, a former roommate and I coined the term 'Bitchy Witchy Week' for any menstruation-related snappiness and mess. 'What's the matter with you?' 'It's Bitchy Witchy Week.' 'Let me just avoid you, then ....' We're both pagan, but aren't entirely eager to embrace the hormonal wackiness/mess/pain as a gift rather than a right bloody inconvenience. We were living in Phoenix, Arizona, at the time; I've since seen a few people pick it up via Internet." (August 2007)
Black towel time "My Latina girlfriends (from Uruguay, Mexico and Colombia) and I (U.S.A. with a Mexican soul) all call it Andrés (from 'él que viene cada mes' - he who comes every month). My husband, born in Mexico, refers to tampons as 'vampiritos' (literally, little vampires, because they suck blood). We both also refer to 'black towel time' because we toss one on the bed to protect the sheets if we want to play. Great site," writes the contributor. (August 2002)
B.L.A.S.P. "Sometimes my sister and I refer to our periods or the heaviest day as 'bleeding like a stuck pig' or B.L.A.S.P. for short; I'll mark my heavy flow day on my personal menses-tracking calendar as 'BLASP.' Been using it for many years, don't know if we made it up or picked it up elsewhere. I'm 39, white and in Doylestown, Pennsylvania." (May 2003)
Bleed, bleed, bleed see The joy of womanhood
Bleedies "My 4-year-old and I call it 'bleedies.' There are 'nose bleedies' (she gets those) and 'peepee bleedies' that only mommies have." (March 2002)
Bleeding freely from the crotch "My friends and I lovingly refer to our periods as 'bleeding freely from the crotch,'" writes the contributor. (December 2001)
Bleeding like a stuck pig see B.L.A.S.P.
Bleeding the lining of my uterus through my sexual organs."I have no idea if you're still updating your collections of euphemisms [of course]--and frankly, this is the opposite of a euphemism anyway--but I always tell my female friends that I'm 'bleeding the lining of my uterus through my sexual organs.' It's a delightfully graphic description of how I feel at the moment. I'm a 17-year-old San Diegan (very Southern California)" She later elaborated: "It definitely captures all the discomforts of menstruation -- cramping, irritability, the general feel that your body is 'out to get you' -- and the complete lack of interest in anything involving sex, or pleasing men. Plus, it sounds like a great justification for copious consumption of chocolate and general grumpiness; after all, it's graphic enough to sound like an injury. 'Bleeding the lining of your uterus through your sexual organs' sounds a lot more serious than being 'on your period'; it just /sounds/ more painful." (November 2007)
Bleeding out my vagina "To MUM. A term for WOMENstruation: 'Bleeding out my vagina.' Let's get real, folks. I use this expression in the Pacific Northwest of the U.S.A. with my friends, housemates, family, whomever. For cramps, I say 'My uterus hurts.'" See also Blood is fighting its way out of my vagina, which sounds as if it's from the same person. (March 2005)
Bleeding out the hoo-ha see Reasserting my femininity
Bleeding Uterus Syndrome (B.U.S.) see I'm on the bus
Blessings of Lady see Moon's blood
Blood demon from an e-mail discussing why the writer wants to stop menstruating (June 2002)
Blood is fighting its way out of my vagina "I know several women in the Pacific Northwest who use this phrase. It is particularily effective in clearing a room of men if announced loudly upon entering. For those less-euphemistic among us." See also Bleeding out my vagina, which sounds as if it's from the same person. (July 2005)
#Bloodcannon "After developing PCOS, 'bitchy witchy week' [q.v.] was no longer sufficient. The new and rather more graphic description is #bloodcannon. My partner-in-crime objects to this on the philosophical principle that a simple and factual description of things which happen may not be in good taste (his example here is "explosive diarrhea") and that no, the hashtag does not make it better. I register his complaint, but after passing golf ball sized blood clots at speed, #bloodcannon is still completely accurate." (September 2014)
Bloody beast used by an e-mailer to this site's Would you stop menstruating if you could? page (July 2004)
[The] bloody mess "I am 39 years old and have always hated 'the period,' or as I really like to call it, 'THE BLOODY MESS!' I don't refer to it as 'my period' because frankly, I have nothing to do with it - it just happens." From an e-mail to Would you stop menstruating if you could? on this site. (August 2003)
Bloody Mary
Bloody snot
"When I have my period I call it 'Bloody Snot' because that's what it looks like to me. I also call it 'Is There Anything On My Butt?' because it's always very late, I never know when its coming and I'm worried that it will come at the most embarassing times." (December 2003)
Blowing a fuse "Blowing a fuse: a term I made up, meaning leaking from a tampon. The string on the tampon reminds me of a fuse, and blowing reminds me of a blow-out on a car with all the air leaked out." (May 2004)
Blow job season "Another name a girl friend of mine and her hubby made up was that it's Blow Job Season. ****" (April 2008)
Bringing forth life to pass see Moon's blood
the contributor writes, "My husband says I'm 'broken' when I try to persuade him to have sex during my period." [I guess the blood is coming from the damage to the uterus.] (January 2001)
Brown towel night "A friend of mine calls it 'brown towel night,' which refers to the clean-up after she and her boyfriend have sex while she's menstruating. We use that term now to refer to the entire period, even if there's no sex involved!" writes a woman from Michigan (U.S.A.). (July 2001)
Bullets "I used to call tampons 'bullets' because that's what the non-applicator ones look likewhen they are still wrapped up. So this evolved to saying "I've been shot" when I had my period. I've since stopped using disposable products and using euphemisms in favor of just stating it plainly. I also view menstruation as a positive thing now. By the way, your Web site is wonderful. Thanks for having it." (October 2001)
BUD "Thanks for doing such a wonderful site - the Museum. I loved the list of words and expressions for menstruation - 'BUS' is my favourite and I have decided to appropriate it for myself with a variation: 'BUD' - Bleeding Uterus Day(s)! As a youngster I used to say, 'I am on,' now I say period or bleeding. Boring eh? I have BUD from now on. I have often wondered how to describe tampons and pads - I strongly dislike that they are called 'sanitary protection' - like we all need protection from the unsanitary (i.e. dirty/ germ-ridden) menstrual blood. One of the things that really amuses me and my partner is 'panty liners' - we thought that they should be called something like 'blood-catching knicker liners' but that's a bit long. I don't much like 'the rag' - I prefer something that says it exactly how it is. Could you put together a list of words/expressions for pads/tampons?" Unfortunately those terms are mixed among the others. (August 2005)
B.U.S. see I'm on the bus
BV "I've been calling it 'BV' for years now - stands for 'Bloody Vagina.' I know it's really gross, but if you say 'I've got BV' most people don't really catch on, and when they force the actual definition out of you, they're grossed out and intrigued (usually) at the same time. As far as I know it originated from my dirty pervert of a friend who inquired about a girl who took her purse to the bathroom with her. He asked, 'Why do you need your purse? Do you have BV or something?' We were all confused and he said, 'You know, bloody vagina.' I don't remember what happened after that, but I'm pretty sure we all stopped being friends for like 5 minutes while we got over the fact that our guy friend comfortably used the words 'bloody' and 'vagina' in a sentence." (August 2005)
[The] bus has left see I'm on the bus
Calendar days
Calling vision for my people "Several Native American cultures consider women in menses to be at the HEIGHT of her powers. For instance, the Lakota tribe would not permit a menstrual woman anywhere near warriors or healers. They believed that menstrual blood was so powerful that just the presence of such power would weaken the strength of warriors and interfere with a healer's ability to heal. The menstrual blood serves to purify, to cleanse, renew, and it prepares the woman for higher spiritual accomplishments. The Yurok, and Lakota tribes practiced monthly rituals by retreating into MOON lodges with other menstrual women. There they celebrated the power of their menstrual blood. SO, at the height of my power, through the ebb and flow of life, giving and life-sustaining blood that flows through me, I isolate myself from the mundane petty distractions and instead focus inward. Thus CALLING VISION for MY PEOPLE. Simple. Get it? Indeed I do feel more creative, more artistic, more insightful, and with each monthly cycle I become more in tune with my connection to nature, thus accumulating a greater store of spiritual energy. ERGO, when I menstruate, I don't see it as negative darkness or as a curse. Instead I prefer to view the process in a more positive, healthy attitude: it is a natural, sacred connection to the cycles and rhythms of the earth. Menstrual blood is LIFE GIVING and LIFE SUSTAINING. There are also native tribes that would return the sacred life-giving blood back to the earth. They would sit over seeds and let the sacred blood flow directly on the seeds or on newly planted seedlings, which INDEED DOES give the seeds growing power. I add here to any who are asking, What? That is sick! NO, NOT sick at all. For an experiment I suggest using INSTEAD menstrual cups to collect the powerful blood into a jar. Fill the remainder of the jar with water then use the solution to water your plants. Be sure to use plain water on other plants for comparing the difference. IT IS AMAZING how powerful menstrual blood is. Of course it is NOT a good idea to disclose this to most people because our current culture has deemed MENSTRUAL BLOOD as disgusting and gross. BELIEVE ME, MY PLANTS are so healthy it is amazing. Whenever asked how I keep my plants so strong and healthy, even in the dead of winter when the house is so dry, I just say,"It's a secret." Oh, one more thing: there is NO ODOR whatsoever. I tease around friends that really know me - whenever I am calling vision - I act as if my plants are grabbing at me to get just a few drops of that SACRED LIFE-GIVING BLOOD. Hope I haven't grossed you out. If I have, It IS YOUR conditioned cultural acceptance of how women in menses are viewed. Look to the past, into Native American Cultures and you will find reference to the SACRED POWER of menstrual blood! Does that answer the query for you? YEP - "CALLING VISION FOR MY PEOPLE" - or just "CALLING VISION." Glad you were interested in the phrase. Need to re-educate, re-evaluate what so many have come to see as a negative, gross, dirty monthly process for women. YET it is a VERY VERY NATURAL PROCESS. Think about it: without it, there would be no life! Have a great day!" (March 2003)
Came into womanhood probably means the first menstruation, menarche. From the Pinkham booklet Come into the Kitchen (1930) and The Happy Baby.
Can't go swimming (a)
Carrie "Refers to a late bloomer. (After Steven King's novel)," writes the contributor. She also sent End of sentence, Hoover dam, It, My body hates me, Question mark or Exclamation point, and added, "I think that's all. I thought you might be interested in what my friends and I call our 'times of the month.' Just in case you wanted to know, my friends and I are all about 15 years old and from the northeast of the U.S. of A." (October 2001)
Catamenia a medical term; I named the museum newsletter - no longer published - this so no one would know what it was when it went through the mail, otherwise embarrassing the recipient.
Certain days used in at least one puberty booklet ("Sally and Mary and Kate wondered . . ." from Modess, 1956) (July 2007)
Change the guards at the gate, I need to see Dropping an egg
Charlie "Hi. My friend and I used to call or periods 'Charlie.' We where both 13 at the time, now we are 23." (February 2003)
Charlie Brown is in town "I saw one reference to Charlie, but my friends and i in Grade 7 used to use the code 'Charlie Brown is in town' for when we had our period - that way we
could also ask for any supplies we may be missing. The Kotex machine [see examples of dispensers] in our school bathroom was the source of much embarrassment. (Peanuts cartoons were very popular in 1960's) - Jennifer. Ps glad to see the site is still up and running, but the small print is hard to navigate for baby boomer eyes" (October 2017)
Chasing waterfalls see Waterfalls
Cheese sticks "When my youngest son was about 1 1/2 and getting into cabinets, my older son, who was four, came running up to me and said, 'Hurry Mom, Phillip's getting into your cheese sticks!' I didn't have a clue what he meant until I saw my tampons strewn all over. Now if I send my husband to the store for cheese sticks, he knows what I mean," writes the contributor. (September 2002)
Cherry drink see Moon's blood
Cherry topping see Cotton candy
Chocolate time "That's what my friend said her grandmother [probably in her seventies or eighties now] always calls it. :-)," writes the contributor (January 2001)
Cigar "From the age of 13 on, my father was my sole parent. Needless to say, periods or their accompanying issues and accoutrement were not comfortable topics of discussion. Despite starting my period at age 11, I didn't understand what it meant or really even what it was. I was incredibly embarassed about having my period at all and would ask him to buy my 'supplies.' I'm sure he wasn't thrilled with the task, but he was a good father and would do it for me without question. Not long after I moved in with him, we were at some fancy function, probably a bar mitzvah, and I was wearing some kind of clothing that didn't have pockets deep enough to hide a tampon (I still refuse to use a purse, so that option was out of the question). My father kept them for me, and when I needed one, he came up with the phrase, 'Do you need a cigar?' From then on, this became our word for tampons, morphing into code for my period. 'Dad, could you get me some cigars?' 'I gotta go buy some cigars,' 'I'm smoking cigars this week.' Now I know that in the post-Monica Lewinsky world, this may have a very different connotation, but this is what we called it/them. Thank you for this site, ****." Connecticut. (July 2004)
[The] circus is closed, the monkey has a nosebleed see The monkey has a nosebleed
Closed for business the contributor writes, "When I was in high school I used to say that the 'Red Moon is rising.' Now that I am married, I tell my husband that I am "Closed for business," even though that is not always the case! ;) I am 29 years old, white, and I live in the Midwest. (May 2002)
Closed for maintenance "I have often over the years used the term 'closed for maintenance,' which I don't think I saw; I can't believe that I am the only one in the world to have used it, even though I came up with it on my own," says the contributor (November 2000). [Sounds like a sexual meaning: she is not "open" for intercourse.]
Clyde the contributor writes, "When I was a teenager my friends and I referred to our periods as 'Clyde,' as in 'Clyde's here,' or just the word, accompanied by that curled-lip, somewhat sick-to-the-stomach expression so highly developed in the newly menstrual. My husband and I call my period 'sluicing.'" (April 2001)
Code red "In case of an emergency, my friends and I call 'CODE RED!' for those moments when you don't want to let the world know there's a civil war going on between the North and the South. North: brain; South: body" (August 2002)
Come sick "Hello, my name is *******. I'm 47 years into this world and I think your site is a real hoot and informative too. I found it on a link at 'Free will astrology.' My contribution is 'come sick.' When I was about 12 years old my fraternal grandmother, who was an honest-to-goodness card-carrying gypsy, and was bought from her family by my grandfather (her folks thought it would be the best thing they could do for her) and shipped over here on a cattle boat (I'm told Granddad was cheap as well as cruel) at the tender age of 14 to be his wife and bear his 12 children, asked me if I'd 'come sick' yet. I couldn't imagine what she was talking about but after a little hushed banter back and forth between us I figured it out. I told her yes and she promptly made it clear in no uncertain terms that I was to 'watch out for the boys' from now on [good advice!]. All this as she cut and hung the best homemade noodles I'm sure I will ever eat on my mother's kitchen table, in San Diego, California. I hope you can use it [it's great!!]. Thanks for the great site. Best Blessings to all." (September 2001)
Comma the 22-year-old Midwestern college student who sent this writes, "I used to have a moody male friend who we used to say was on his 'comma' when he was being moody. That was because men just had a 'pause' (, - comma) not a complete stop (. - period) like women." (May 2001) See also Nosebleed pillow, Placebo effect, Plug and Red Week.
[The] Commies are coming see Happy escapade
Communists have invaded the summer house "Really, does that need any more explanation? Can't remember who started it, but I'm pretty sure it was a female, and as soon as they hear it, folks of both genders love it and use it with abandon." ****, 23, Durham N.C. (September 2004) Actually, it's almost identical to the Norwegian Kommunister i lysthuset - see the entry under Norway, below - and I wonder if someone did not get it from this site, especially since I believe this is the only American entry containing "communist." So I e-mailed the contributor and she responded: "Missed the Norwegian section -- I just checked for it in the English part. I'm definitely sure of it -- but I've only 'heard' it online, mostly from blogging friends. One who currently lives in California, but has also lived in D.C. and Australia recently, is the one who comes to mind as being the one I heard it from originally."
Congratulations! It's an egg! "My husband (of seven months) and I aren't especially eager to become pregnant yet, so whenever I start my period, I'll email him or tell him, 'Congratulations! It's an egg!' as opposed to 'Congratulations! It's a baby!" The first time I heard that phrase was from a comedian a few years ago, and it tickled me so much, I never forgot it. We also use the phrase "crimson tide," but you have that one already. I'm 25, and in Atlanta, Georgia. Regards, **** (November 2003)
Cooter pad see Dead rat
Cooter plug see Dead rat
Cork see I'm gifted and Reasserting my femininity
Cotton candy "My friends and I used to call our periods as having 'cotton candy' with 'cherry topping,' referring to our cotton-woven pads and our red cherry-colored periods that topped them." (May 2004)
Cotton ponies see The eagle has landed
Cotton tail The contributor, a 45-year-old American woman, writes, "My friend's husband always used to say 'Have you got the cotton-tail on?' It comes from how a Kotex looks on a belt from the back (look at your mannequin [here it is from the front]). I always thought that it sounded kind of sweet." (April 2001)
Courses (or monthy courses) the contributor writes, "I don't see [in this list] the term my grandmother used. She insisted that 'courses,' or occasionally 'monthly courses,' was the only polite way to refer to it, if you had to refer to it at all. Needless to say, polite people didn't. That whole side of the family is English or Scots, so I'm assuming it's a regional thing. [In November 2012 a woman from the United Kingdom used the word in an e-mail to me; see the UK contributions, below]" (December 2000) [My dictionary writes that it comes from Latin via Old French and Middle English from a word meaning "to run." The current French verb "courir" means "to run."]
Dr Sara Read of Loughborough University, U.K., (more from Dr Read) e-mailed me this about "courses":

There were a few expressions in use at this time (including actually 'terms' itself).

The most common ones were: flowers, courses, and terms. However, they were unlikely to be used in open conversation where instead women tended to say things like 'those' or 'nature' that type of thing. The expressions, then, imply menstruation rather than say it, so if for example she was telling another woman she thought she might be pregnant she might say, 'I haven't had those for a while' and assume that the other woman knew what she meant. Men tended to be more direct and say terms or courses 'she hasn't had her course' for example. They also used the biblical 'custom of women' so an older woman might be described as no longer having the custom of women, for example.

The whole of Chapter One of my book [which appears in September 2013] Menstruation and the Female Body in Early Modern England is devoted to the language used for menstruation in the early modern era.

Cousin Cramps "I noticed you have a few different versions of 'Aunt Flo' but when we have family visit they come with the whole family so for me it is not just 'Aunt Flo' but also 'Uncle Red' and 'Cousin Cramps.'" (July 2006)
Cousin Tom the contributor writes,"My friends and I frequently refer to our periods as 'Cousin Tom.' Tom stands for 'Time Of the Month.' One time I actually got a girl outside the conversation to believe I had a cousin named Tom. If our period is late we say that his plane was delayed." (November 2000)
Crimson curse
"After dealing with periods for over a quarter of a century, my favorite euphemism for menstruation is 'the crimson curse.' That term, as far as I know, is original," writes the contributor. (May 2002)
Crimson tide
see also "Surfing the crimson tide" and "Surfing the crimson wave," below. Many folks have submitted one of these three variations. (January 2001)
Cup week Writes the e-mailer, "When I was a kid, my best friend always called it her 'unable to swim' because she refused (and still does) to use tampons. Also, among many of my friends and myself who all use The Keeper menstural cup, it became 'cup week.' I also often use 'moon flux,' which I think came from either the Mists of Avalon by Marion Zimmer Bradley, or the Earth's Children series by Jean M. Auel. I've also heard 'it's time to empty out' and 'it's time to get a refill' (referring, I assume, to refilling a birth control prescription). By the way, I live in the Philadelphia [Pennsylvania] area." (May 2002)
[I could] Cure the plague
The contributor writes, "This comes from the 1300s when people would drink menstrual blood to try to cure themselves of bubonic plague. " (November 2000)
Curse, the
a woman e-mailed in November, 2000: "Where's 'the curse,' one of the most common of all?" But read this from a student of the Irish language (in Los Angeles): "I am fairly certain the term curse may come from the Irish 'curse' - pronounced cursa, actually - meaning 'course' [see Courses, above] - it is a perfectly good word for menstruation and has no relation to being 'cursed.' Yes, it's true - it's in my Irish-English Dictionary. And many Irish-American women grew up with the term 'the curse' - I think it probably adds to the concept of the burden of womanhood - possbily dating back to Eve - but curse in Irish really means courses and applies to rivers, seasons, and other cyclical events as well." (August 2005)
Curse of TOM "I am a female and amongst my female friends we always say we have 'the curse of TOM.' TOM is short for time of month. I am Caucasian, 19, Nevada" (February 2007)
Custom of women see Courses
Cut your finger "I have several American terms used in the South I haven't seen here. 'Cut your finger.' I had a friend with several sisters and when her mother would see tampon wrappers in the bathroom wastebasket, she'd say, 'Who cut their finger?' I suppose she wanted to know whose bad temper to overlook that week. Also from the same family, "mouse mummies.' Those were used tampons wrapped up in toilet paper (like an Egyptian mummy) and put in the garbage. So sightings of 'mouse mummies' also alerted her. A personal story that I'll never forget happened when I was 13, in the early 1960s. Grades six through nine were in seperate schools called junior high schools. Most of the girls were just starting to menstruate and were embarrassed. Our gym teacher (physical education) was a nice lady named Miss Fisher. She made sure there were Kotex machines in all the girls' restrooms. Knowing we were all mortally embarrassed about our new status, she arranged a code with all the teachers. At that time, you didn't just get up and leave class to go to the restroom. The idea was that classes were only 45 minutes long and breaks between them were 10 minutes, so just 'hold it.'(I can't believe we tolerated it but that was before we began to question authority!) If you just HAD to leave class (to visit the Kotex machine) we were assured that if we told the teacher 'I have to go see Miss Fisher' that we'd be excused with no questions asked and not refused permission to leave. Naturally, this statement was made by meekly tiptoeing up to the desk and whispering in the teacher's ear. At mid-year, a teacher resigned and was replaced by a young, good-looking male teacher in his early 20s. Yes, you guessed it. Nobody told him about the code. When one of the girls (thank goodness it wasn't me !) made this whispered, urgent request, the teacher blurted out loud, 'Why do you have to go see Miss Fisher right in the middle of math class??!!' Several of the boys snickered (they certainly knew), the poor girl blushed beet red and the rest of the girls nearly fainted. 'Oh, Sir, you had better let her go !!!!' we chorused. He let her go, but begrudgingly! Also, referring to another page in the site, here's an explanation of the word 'Hoosier' that appeared on the sanitary belt box. The state of Indiana IS known as 'The Hoosier State' and those who live there are nicknamed "Hoosiers." The common explanation is that they were very proud of their state and if they met a stranger, they always were curious which state the other person was from. They would say, 'Who's your state?' (This was back in the early 1800s; now we say, 'What state are you from?') 'Who's your' was corrupted into 'Hoosier' since speakers ran the words together. Love your site! ~anonymous" (August 2005)
Cycle, having my the 29-year-old Causasian woman from the Midwest (U.S.A.) writes, "I've heard that term from so many women all of my life." (April 2001)
see Due for the sweatlodge
[The] dam has burst see I'm not pregnant (February 2002)
Dead rat "I was rushing one day when changing a tampon and forgot to flush the toilet. When I left the bathroom my husband went in to urinate and started yelling 'Dead rat, dead rat.' He also came up with the name 'cooter' as a term for vagina so he'll sometimes ask if I have a 'cooter pad' or 'cooter plug' on/in." (April 2004)
Decorated with red roses
(a) from World War II
Devil days sent by a male, who didn't say if these were actually used, with High tide, The tide has rolled in, The Girly Girl thing, The devil's work, The week of the devil, Muddy waters. (March 2007)
[The] devil's work see Devil days
Diaper "Stumbled onto that site by accident ... wow. I was surprised NOT to see diapers and plugs on the list ... diapers being pads and plugs being tampons ... or, not a good day ... referring to the day all hell breaks loose. Sex on day one - ok, day four - ok, day two or three ... not a good day forget it, I'd rather eat dirt. (late 70's) I saw 'riding the banana,' that is a good description of pads. Was also profoundly grateful that I wasn't around to experience the contraption you described as a rubber apron with a pad holder attached. (Sears-Roebuck?) Female, Baltimore, MD " (February 2009)
Diaper up, Diapering up "My daughter and I use the phrase 'Diaper up' or 'Diapering up' for when we have to use two pads because the flow is so heavy." (April 2005)
Dot, the the contributor writes (2000), "In late 1970s, some enterprising teens called it 'the dot' to keep others from knowing what they were talking about when sharing secrets."
Dot, dot, dot "Hi, I'm a teenager from the U.S. My friends and I call our periods 'dot dot dot' (sort of like the dot), and we call pads/tampons documents. So when we need to change our pads, we say 'I've got to edit my document.' Thanks!" (July 2009)
Dotty Spotty "What a great site! :-D My husband and I refer to my period as 'Dotty Spotty.' He will ask me, 'Is Dotty here?' As far as I know, we're the only ones who use this name. I'm a student midwife, and I think I'll share a link to your site with my preceptors and fellow students. **** Texas" (June 2006)
Double barrel technique, [Employing the] "How about '(Employing the) Double Barrel Technique!' That's what I call it when a monthly visitor is so heavy one has to cram in TWO tampons!!!!" (January 2005)
Dracula's tea bag the contributor writes, "As a man in his mid-twenties, I enjoy using the term 'Dracula's tea bag' for tampons. I'm not sure it fits in your list of names for menstruation, but I figure it's close enough." (May 2002)
Dragontime "Dragontime: This comes from Dragontime: Magic and Mystery of Menstruation, a book by Luisa Francia. Witching Time: Many witches believe very strongly in the power of menstrual blood and use it for their magical workings. Moon cycle: This term gives acknowledgement to the similarity of the lunar cycle to a woman's menstrual cycle." (July 2004)
Drainage "When I am bleeding, I say I am menstruating, 'periodic,' 'being womanly' or 'female,' 'leaking,' 'emptying,' 'draining' or 'drainage' or 'preparing for unborn children.' It is also called 'painful femininity' when I have intense cramps or heavy clotting. I am 18 from Seattle and proud of bleeding although I hate the accompanying pain or emotional discomfort. Thank you for this informative site! I learned more about myself and gathered more information and appreciation for other women." (October 2005)
Draining see Drainage
Drip drop "I've used this for years for this body function," writes the contributor. (June 2001)
Drippy faucet see Waterfalls
Driving in a red car "Me and my friend started a saying that, although may not be popular, is at least used by us. It's 'Driving in a red car.' The circumstances surronding the making of this phrase elude me but we use it a lot. 'Driving' is the period itself. 'Seatbelts' are pads, 'keys' are tampons, 'driving through bushes' is mild cramps, 'driving through a forest' is bad cramps and 'driving through a red wood forest' is REALLY bad cramps. Also, me and my dad and step-mom refer to pads as French bread. We say this because I needed pads and while we were at the store my step-mom bought some French bread too. We had an amusing conversation about not mixing the two up (such puns as 'getting a yeast infection' arose). I'm 15 and I live in Texas (America) and I'm currently driving although I haven't hit the forest yet. Thanks, **** PS) I refer to it as 'being girly' or needing 'girly products' when I'm at my mom's house." (March 2004)
Driving through a forest see Driving in a red car
Driving through a redwood forest see Driving in a red car
Driving through bushes see Driving in a red car
Dropping an egg "My husband married himself an openly informative woman here - he's got all the details down pat after almost 14 years! So, his pet name for my menses is 'dropping an egg.' I think it's too cute! I'm not comfortable with sexual activities for the first couple of days, so Hubby asks if it's 'tool time' yet to make sure where I am in the 'egg dropping' process! I call my tampons 'soldiers' and the act of needing a bathroom while out (to change tampons/pads) is 'I need to change the guards at the gate.'" (June 2010)
Due for the sweatlodge the contributor writes, "We always jokingly refer to it as 'flooding' and our pads or tampons as 'sandbags.' The first day, our 'floodgates open up.' And, my friends and I are all converts to the Keeper menstrual cup, so it's our 'dam.' We also refer to it as 'the time that men suck' (reference to the lack of male menstruation) or when we're 'howlin' at the moon,' since we all menstruate on a lunar cycle, or even are 'due for the sweatlodge,' since that too happens on a lunar basis." (May 2001)
Dynamite "When my husband was a young boy, he and his brothers one day had discovered their mother's tampons. After inspecting theses newly discovered devices, they promptly decided to play 'WAR!' with them. My husband says they commando-crawled around on their bellies, ripped the paper from the tubes, 'lit' the fuses and lobbed them at each other like sticks of dymanite! When his mom arrived home to find her sons rolling around their front yard littered with tampons, the crap really hit the fan. Because of this wonderful story, I call tampons 'dynamite,' and the code for my period around here is, 'I'm packin' dynamite!'" (July 2002)
[The] eagle has landed "Hi. I always tell my husband that 'the Eagle has landed' when I get my period [that's what the first person on the moon radioed back upon landing there]. And I used to use either 'mouse mattresses' or 'cotton ponies' - (pads). But now I use the Keeper menstrual cup which is *so* much better and easier. *** from Lakeland, Florida. (January 2003)
Earning your red wings "I have three. One my friends uses 'The red sled slide' aptly for the her use of pads. I have very heavy cycles and so I tell my husband to 'get out the crime scene tape.' Also, a rather gross term I have heard military men use for oral sex during menstruation is 'earning your red wings.' I really liked your site." She later wrote: "'Red wings,' as in 'earned her red wings' when a woman goes down on another woman when she has her period. I don't know if this term was ever used for a man going down on a woman, or if it was strictly a term used for queer women? I learned this from a lesbian in her mid-forties, and I believe she got it from some older queer friends. It was apparently a common phrase about 30 years ago? I know she grew up in central Saskatchewan, Canada, and then lived in Toronto, Ontario, during the times of police raides on dyke bars (about 20 years ago?), but this may or may not be a regional term. Queer culture tends to come first from larger cities, where there are larger numbers of queer people, so she may have picked it up in Toronto. Also, an Australian friend was telling me recently that when she first heard the term 'fanny pack,' she thought it meant tampon. Here, in North America, it means a rather ugly little bag worn on a strap around your waist, mostly by tourists and my grandmother's friends!, but apparently in Britain and Australia, the term fanny is equivilent to pussy or twat here, so it made sense to her that a fanny pack would be a tampon that you would shove into your fanny! I don't know if anyone has ever actually used the term, but I thought it was interesting. And, my very very strict Catholic flemish grandmother, who feels very strongly about showing skin and talking about bodies, would say 'it's time to flush' or 'she needs to flush.' This actually has nothing to do with the idea of the period flushing anything out, that phrase comes from living on a farm, with a septic tank, where the sign 'If it's yellow, let it mellow, if it's brown, flush it down' was common in bathrooms! Basically, if all you were doing was urinating, you would throw your toilet paper into the garbage can, and not flush, to conserve water. My grandfather was a huge stickler for this, and if you were too quick in the bathroom, but still flushed, he would demand to know why you had flushed. My grandmother would see my embarassed face and insist that 'She needs to flush just this time, it's okay.' I was too embarassed to have bloody toilet paper in the garbage, so I always flushed. Anyway, hope you like the stories! **** (Oh, and I didn't tell you my age in the last e-mail. I'm in my mid-twenties)" (August 2004)
(Added January 2015): "Mum, the term 'Earning Red Wings' comes from the Hell's Angels for whom going down on a menstruating woman was a right of passage. It was done in the presence of other members and earned one an actual set of red wings for their vest. If they didn't originate, they certainly mainstreamed the term. Cheers,
Easter Eggs see Easter Time
Easter Time "My family has always called it Easter Time, both to disguise it from strangers and from the family's children. I don't know why, if it's some sort of sarcasm. But calling it Easter naturally leads on to sanitary pads being called Easter Eggs, which is a convenient thing to write on your shopping list." (November 2007)
Em (M) see Emily
Emily "My girlfriends and I used the term Emily or Em (M), such as 'Emily is visiting this week' back in the early 70s. Love your website. Thanks!" (July 2007)
Emo see Your vagina is emo!
Emptying see Drainage
End of sentence "Such as, 'I have my end-of-sentence' (because the punctuation used most often at the end of a sentnce is called a period)." See Carrie. (October 2001)
Estrogen poisoning "One of my close friends is female-to-male transgendered and hasn't gotten his operation to make him fully male yet. So when its that time of the month, he calls it 'estrogen poisoning.' We're 18 and from Chicago, Illinois." (July 2007)
Ethel see In my moon
Eve's cycle "My boyfriend calls it Eve's cycle as in Adam and Eve, since period and painful child birth were a punishment for eating the forbidden fruit in the garden of Eden.  He is very Catholic and from az [Arizona] but moved to the pnw [Pacific Northwest] when he was a teen." (August 2012)
Exclamation point or Question mark "Another form of punctuation used at the end of a sentence." See Carrie. (October 2001)
Expelling my hysteria "I like to tell my husband that I am 'expelling my hysteria.' First, because of the etymology of the word hysteria (in relation to the [ancient Greek word for] womb), and also as a reassurance that in a week, after it's over, my moods will be normal again. Thanks!" (May 2004)
Falling off the roof
"I noticed you had some variations of this. I know it's pretty old-fashioned as noted by whoever wrote about the camp they went to. I always interpreted it to mean that one was suffering from internal bleeding, as in the same way one might bleed if they had actually fallen off the roof. It seems like a horrible thing to imply, like one's period is similar to a fatal injury - harsh and cruel and I love that this horror was a metaphor used 'back in the day.'" (August 2004.)  See also the Kotex booklet for girls "As one Girl to Another" (1943).
Feminine biology "Hi, I was just e-mailed this site by a (male) friend - quite interesting, and amusing! Usually I just say that I'm 'on the rag,' a term picked up from my best friend growing up in Arizona. I'm 26 now, btw. A term I don't see on your list is: 'feminine biology,' which I just made up one day, and find to be a pretty good explanation, though sometimes it takes the guys a couple seconds to process :] **** Be the change you wish to see in the world. - Gandhi." (January 2004)
Fighting the Scarlet Crusade (title of this email is "Nerdy menstrual Terms")"My friends and I have always played a lot of video games, and in several female orientated communities related to the word of warcraft I've often seen the term 'Scarlet Onslaught'. The term comes from a group of non-player characters with violent/religious leanings called The Scarlet Onslaught. This is English speaking uk/american online culture: Fighting the Scarlet Crusade, Punctual, My cup runneth over - reference both to menstrual cups , and a boss in World of Warcraft that says that I'm battling scarlets. Yes, I have used them all." (July 2010)
FHP "When I was a teen, my mother told me to never call menstruation 'riding the rag' because it was vulgar. I had never heard that one until she told me (she's from the South.) My friends and I in California loved horses, and we called it 'riding the red pony.' When my children were very little, they asked me what that metal box was, up there on the women's restroom wall. I read right off the tampon dispenser, 'It's feminine hygiene product, Sweetie.' Now that my daughters are teens, we call pads and tampons 'FHP,' and menstruating is often referred to as 'needing/using FHP.'" (September 2004)
Fleas the contributor comments, "In 1892, in Fall River, Massachusetts, [U.S.A.], Lizzie Borden testified that she had 'fleas' at the time of the murders of of her father and stepmother. This was the accepted euphemism for menstruation in her day." A writer to the museum (see News, 1 July 2001) said Borden had "temporary insanity" caused by what we call premenstrual syndrome - PMS - and was washing out her menstrual rags at the time of the murders. A later e-mailer said that Lizzy Borden used the words "mosquito bite," not "fleas" (see Mosquito bite) (June 2001)
Floodgates open up see Due for the sweatlodge
Flooding see Due for the sweatlodge and Flooding of biblical proportions
Flooding of biblical proportions "I'm a 32-year-old woman from South Carolina. In my area, women who are having their period refer to it as 'flooding.' I have even heard of a woman who said she was having 'flooding of Biblical proportions'!" (December 2005)
Flo's in town
"My fiance and I say 'Flo's in town,' as in referring to an actual person. When my period is coming to an end, I say, 'Flo's packing her bags,' or 'Flo's plane leaves tomorrow.' We also talk of Flo as a very rude person who drops in uninvited every month." (September 2001)
Flows like a hydrant
"When I was in high school, my friends and I used to mark down our period days on a calendar in her kitchen using certain terms. For example, 'Cara bleeds' or 'Jeanine bleeds.' One day we noticed that her brother wrote 'Brian flows like a hydrant.' It stuck. I am a 27-year-old Italian from Chicago." (May 2003)
see also Issue, Courses. According to the Oxford English Dictionary, flowers is an obsolete word for the menstrual discharge, coming from the French fleurs (flowers, the plant), "but this is regarded by French scholars as a corruption of flueurs [from Latin for "flowing," and "fluor" is still used in gynecology for a discharge from the vagina]." The French scholars seem right to me. The first example in the OED is from about 1400: "A woman schal in the harme blede/ For stopping of her flowrys." French at this time and before was very influential in England; I believe French was the language spoken in Parliament. The dictionary cites an anatomy text as writing that the word was in disuse in 1859 in both French and English. It's been claimed that the menstrual usage comes from the meaning of flowers used in fermentation, the fungoid scum on the top of wine, vinegar, etc., but the OED does not support this. The OED also does not support the usage from chemistry, the dried precipitate from condensation, as in "flowers of sulfur." The menstrual products industry often associates the garden flower with its products, maybe thereby "euphemizing" an nonacceptable aspect of femininity with an acceptable one. (June 2002) See also "I've got my flowers" in the Ireland section, below.
Fluffing it "Hello, I wanted to pass along a little bit of info that I happened to hear. I was at a swinger's party and was involved with another couple, along with my husband. When I invited the woman, who was performing felattio on my husband, to go ahead and have my husband perform oral sex on her, she declined and said that she was "Fluffling it." New one to me. I guess she was there to 'give and not receive.' **** Pennsylvania, U.S.A." April 2005). But a woman writes, "Hi there! Your site is awesome. I've just stumbled over it and spent the last four hours stuck there. Anyhow I was looking at this page: and saw this entry [above]. Fluffing isn't a term for menses (at least in this context); it's a term for oral sex. 'Fluff girls' in the adult film industry are those that work off camera performing oral sex to maintain/achieve erections during scene changes, reshoots, etc. Now the REASON the woman was 'fluffing it' (performing only oral sex) could have easily been her state of reproductive being." **** 22, Orlando, Florida (August 2007)
Flying Baker (a) a U. S. Navy signal meaning "keep off" - read more But according to a former Navy sailor, the flag was red and - well, I'll let him explain: "Hi, Harry! I was referred to your site by an article in the current (Sept. 2003) issue of the British magazine Prospect. The article is by Shereen El Feki, healthcare correspondent for The Economist, and is titled 'A Quarterly Curse?' Just for curiosity, I looked for one of the terms I was familiar with, 'Flying Baker' and thought I'd give you a little extra information. When I was in the U.S. Navy during World War II, the spoken names for the first four letters of the alphabet were ABLE, BAKER, CHARLIE, DOG. (they're now ALFA, BRAVO, CHARLIE, DELTA). The signal flag for the letter 'B' was, and still is, all red. When a sailor returned from visiting his wife or girl friend on liberty or shore leave, and was asked whether he got laid [had sexual intercourse], he might have replied, 'No, she was flying Baker.' He wasn't referring to the signal 'Keep Off' (I'm not familiar with the flag being used in that context), but to the color of menstrual blood, the same color as the 'B' signal flag. I wonder whether U.S. Navy sailors nowadays reply to the same question, 'No, she was flying Bravo.' [Yes, see the next entry.] It might be of interest to inquire. Sincerely, ****, ex-Chief Petty Officer, U.S. Navy" (August 2003)
Flying Bravo the wife of a retired Coast Guard member writes, "The word "bravo" is used when refueling or loading ammunition, and they fly a big red flag when doing so . . . ." (May 2001)
Flying her colors From the e-mailer: "Scanning the letters my in-laws exchanged during WWII. There are hundreds & it's unlikely I'll ever read more than a few bits of a few of them (but I think it will be a good heritage down through the grandchildren etc so it's worth the time).

"flying her colors"

Anyway, just randomly came across the phrase 'Suzie couldn't go today anyway because she was flying her colors.' I suspect it's an euphemism for menstruation. Thought you'd be interested.
It's in about the middle of the attached page from the letter [dated June 25, 1944 to a soldier in Europe].
Cheers," (February 2014)
Four-day fun time "My husband likes to call it '4-day fun time' when I get my period because he knows I get so irritated, so he purposely acts overly happy just to irritate the crap out of me. And believe me, it works!" (July 2013)
Fred The contributor writes, "When I was middle school I was told everyone referred to it as 'Fred.'  So we then dubbed tampons as 'Fred's cigars' and pads as 'Fred's bed.' I don't know anyone outside that group who called it that, but I still refer to it as 'Fred is coming to town' or 'Fred's visiting.'" She added, "Life is not about waiting for the storm to pass, but learning to dance in the rain!" (December 2012)
Freddy the contributor writes, "A friend of mine used to call her period 'Freddy,' telling her husband, 'I'd love to (do whatever it was), but I've got Freddy this week.'" (May 2001)
French bread see Driving in a red car
Friend, Your friend see Band-Aids
Fuh, On the Fuh "'On the Fuh' is a term my mother's friends came up with when they were menstrual rookies. It refers to the fact the whenever you're on your period and you stand up after sitting for a while, everything just kind of rushes down- sort of goes 'FUH!' immediately after which you race to a bathroom to get rid of the gooky feeling. My mother and her friends now say that they're on the Fuh whenever that time of the month rolls around, and so do I. Christine (you can put my name in if you'd like). I think your site is awesome! Vital stats are as follows: I'm 18, female, and living in San Diego, CA, USA." (April 2002)
Full stop "My husband calls it my Full Stop. He's from a country that was British at one time and the period in punctuation is called a Full Stop. So I will say, 'My full stop
has started.'" (January 2012)
G's in the 'hood A possibly hypothetical construct, much as those words the Oxford English Dictionary lists as found only in dictionaries, not in usage. See My granny was visiting for the origin. (July 2002)
Gender-specific "I may not be the only person ever to have used this one, but am claiming it since it isn't in your index so far: Gender-specific. I'm in my 50s and still going strong, unfortunately, though my cycles have become very unpredictable. ÝOne of these "surprises" arrived one day while at work and I was in all kinds of discomfort. ÝI'm the only female where I work, and I had to ask my supervisor permission to leave about 15 minutes early. ÝNaturally, he asked why, and as I cast about for a polite way of telling him that he'd understand, I said 'Well, it's ... gender-specific.' Thank goodness he got it immediately -- I think he has a daughter or two. Ý Thanks for an entertaining and informative website. ***, Tennessee, USA" (September 2009)
George "Hi, I went to junior high in the mid-1960s in Michigan and we called our periods 'George.' We loved to say things like 'George is visiting me this week' in front of the boys because it would get their curiousity going. George was used universally by young girls in my suburban Detroit community. Please don't use my name or e-mail address." (January 2006) An earlier visitor also contributed this: "Hi! I'm 31, from Texas, and I call my 'monthly friend' 'George.' My friend started that in high school. We were the only girls at our lunch table. One day, out of the blue, she asked me, 'So, has George come to visit you yet?' I finally figured out what she meant. To this day, I refer to that time of the month as George. Also, I call pads 'mattresses' or 'mattressi.' When you think about it, pads can be a little uncomfortable and feel like there's a mattress down there. This is a really interesting site!" (June 2005) Also, From a letter to Would you stop menstruating if you could? page (Writer is from New Hampshire.) (November 2003)
"I'm 29 and from Texas and we, too, used 'George' as the term in high school. I usually just refer to it as 'that time of the month.' I used to see a guy who used to call it 'a bloody waste of fucking time.' He was 36 and from South Africa and Great Britain.
****, DVM." (January 2007)
George is visiting Lily the West Virginia (U.S.A.) contributor writes, "In addition to 'My pussy cat having a nosebleed,' I also say that 'George is visiting Lily,' or that 'George Clooney is visiting.' This last one is because of a joke that a friend and I had while watching ER [an American television program about a hospital emergency room] one evening." (April 2001)
George Clooney is visiting see George is visiting Lily. (April 2001)
Get the crime scene tape see Earning your red wings
Getting my monthly subscription in the mail "My fiance calls it 'the monster' and it really fits since it's almost like me going from Dr. Jekkyl to Ms. Hyde on that time of the month. I usually like to refer getting my period as 'getting my monthly subscription in the mail," especially when we're having girl talks and we don't want the guys to know what we're really talking about." (March 2007)
Getting on the bus see I'm on the bus
Getting the pip see the Kotex booklet for girls "As one Girl to Another" (1943)
The Gift see "I'm gifted."
Gina is sick "My girlfried calls her vagina Gina. And when she is having her period she says, Gina is sick. When she gets waxed, she says Gina just went to the salon," writes the e-mailer. (February 2002)
Girl flu see Monthly issue
Girl stuff "Girl stuff, On the dot (as in period, viz. 'Aunt Dot'), [the following answers for How heavy is your flow?] Little Miss, Moon Maid, Stuck pig (a Firesign Theater reference - they were making fun of radio commercials with their Loosner's Drug Store ad for 'sanitary napkin rings')" Later she wrote, "'On the dot' was something a friend came up with at summer camp. We only heard 'Aunt Dot' much later. Firesign Theater is an American radio comedy group." (July 2006)
Girl time "I often say 'girl time' to my husband when making reference to menstruation. (We also use the term cotton pony, which you already have listed)," writes the contributor. (June 2002)
Girl issues "We always say 'girl issues,'" e-mails the contributor. (September 2002)
Girls' time "I was an English teacher in Japan for two years, and often had to simplify expressions in English to get my point across. You could say this is a kind of Pidgin - 'Girls' time' was the term I used from the beginning, and people always knew what it meant. I still use it with my American friends today," writes the contributor of Uncle Bloody. (August 2001)
Girly flu "Hello! I was so happy when I stumbled across your site. My sister was tired of hearing me say that I was bleeding like a stuck pig & I decided to Google the expression & found my way to you. I wanted to share my families expression 'GIRLY FLU.' My Depression-era father grew up in a house full of sisters & had no qualms about helping his daughters manage through the terror of puberty. Unlike a lot of my friends fathers he never cowered away from washing our unmentionables, picking up any hygiene products we needed at the store or sitting beside our mother to explain the birds & the bees. He couldn't quite stomach the terminology, however so 'menstrual', 'vagina' & 'tampon' just became 'lady parts,' & 'lady products.' He used the expression 'girly flu' to refer to our menses. If we ever had to be picked up from school or a friends house or were feeling ill he would ask if it was our girly flu & if it was he wouldn't ask any other questions. This was something we may have used to our advantage & we still use the expression with our own families & social circles today. I'm not sure if he coined the expression or heard it somewhere but I've never heard any one else use it. Thanks for letting me share!" Her e-mail is entitled "Dadisms." (April 2011)
girly girl thing see Devil days
Girly products see Driving in a red car
Go with the flow The male contributor said "it just sounds right." (March 2008)
Going to change my cooter plug "I was floored to find your site 'Words and expressions for menstruation around the world.' I was trying to find slang terms to harass my friend who was surfin' the crimson wave this week. She was in dire need of a good laugh, as was I. But there was one term I did not see on your site. It's a bit lewd, but used none the less. Whenever I have my period and am out and about running errands with a good friend of mine, if I stop to use the restroom, he likes to announce to everyone that I am 'going to change my cooter plug.' It certainly an illustrative way to put it, and quite embarrassing. But what the hell - it makes me laugh! Much appreciation for the site, ****** Houston, Texas." (February 2002)
Going to India "Hey, interesting Web site. I found you by googling Oklahoma Museum Ass. Go figure that one out. The Flaming Lips have a song called "going to India" - it's on the Zureka box set. Wayne's wife, while trying to explain 'going to Oklahoma' said it was like she went to India once a month. Check it out, it's a funny song." (October 2005)
Going to Oklahoma "I'm a 26-year-old male from Texas. In college my wife and her friend would use the term 'Going to Oklahoma' in reference to the need to cross the Red River which borders the two states. For example, 'I should be leaving for Oklahoma tomorrow.' 'Oh, I went there last week.' Thanks for the site!" (August 2005)
Going to the house of the moon from the contributor of Calling vision for my people (March 2003)
Good news "Once my sister and I began to date seriously, my mother always referred to it as 'good news' with a smile. Since my sister and I both knew we weren't doing anything to make it news - good or bad - we just called it our period," writes a woman from Ohio. (November 2001)
Gramma see Not user friendly
Gramps "I have a co-worker who has always said, 'Aunt Flo is visiting.' So, one day when Aunt Flo was visiting me, and I had cramps, I told her, 'Aunt Flo is visiting, and she brought Gramps with her.' Gramps almost always visits with Aunt Flo. I can't stand either of them. Take Care!" See also Aunt Flo is visiting. (June 2002)
Grandma's here (a) also said by a woman born in South Dakota, sister to the woman who says You're not a dad. (told to me by the contributors March 2015)
Grandma coming to visit see the Kotex booklet for girls "As one Girl to Another" (1943) (1943)Grandma fell off the roof "Just found your site and wanted to share what my family always said when we started our periods. 'Grandma fell off the roof.' Yes, my mother, my sister, myself and my daughters all use this sentence. And I have no idea where it even came from. My husband always says something about the river running wide which I think is completely moronic and I have no idea why." (August 2009)
Granny "I would like to submit a funny term my grandmother (who is 73) uses. She calls menstruation 'granny,' and it was used by the women in her family. I'm assuming the term was in use when she was a young girl, so that would be the 1930s and 1940s, but could back possibly further than that. Also, her mother was the local midwife and even delivered three of her own grandchildren," writes the contributor. She also wrote, "I just ran across your site and I can't help but to laugh and be appalled at the same time." (August 2001)
Green week "I have a new way to refer to one's period: A GREEN WEEK - my old birth control pills had inert green tablets for the week when my period would occur. My husband, who is a bit squeamish about anatomy, has trouble discussing my period, but has no problem talking about green weeks." (June 2002)
Gruesome week "Demographic: 39, married, grew up in Oregon, USA, now California resident. 'Gruesome week': my way of warning my slightly squeamish husband that bathroom trash will be even ickier than usual (I use pads) and/or that sex is pretty much out at least until I'm into the lighter-flow stage. 'Red storm rising': haven't actually heard this one used, but I think it makes sense for the PMS stage, especially for women prone to bad mood swings (raising hand)" (November 2008)
Hanging upside down from a tree "My mom was born in Scotland; she came to the U.S.A. when she was eight years old. She had a wonderful sense of humor. I don't know if this was her own joke or if she read it somewhere. If you told her you had your period and needed a pad she'd say, 'You can always hang upside down from a tree.' The meaning was if you couldn't afford or didn't have menstrual pads or tampons you'd have to hang upside down from a tree for seven days until the flow stopped! *** from Southern CA, age 62." (May 2003)
Happiness "My friend and I used to call it that during middle school/ high school because it was the EXACT opposite, and having your period during those *tough* teenage years was hell, especially when it started in the middle of class. So we'd just say 'I need something for my . . . happiness' or 'I'm experiencing a lot of happiness right now.' (September 2003)
Happy and bleeding see In celebration (November 2004)
Happy escapade "Happy Escapade: I'm not sure who or where this came from -- if it's original to us or if one of us heard it somewhere -- but this is the (ironic) moniker of choice among my five sisters and my high school girlfriends. We also euphemistically referred to tampons / pads as party favors: 'Psssst -- do you have any party favors in your purse? I'm on a happy escapade.' LOL More recently, I've preferred the euphemism The Invasion of the Red Army -- or, along the same lines, I'll say that the Commies are coming. There was a funny graphic in The Onion (satirical newspaper) a few years ago with a top ten list of menstruation euphemisms [see below under {the} Onion], and that was the only one that stuck in my mind." (March 2006)
Hating Life see Not user friendly (January 2001)
Having a talk with Father de Bricassat the Hindu-American contributor writes, "from the novel and '80s TV mini-series 'The Thorn Birds.' The main character thinks she's dying and confesses to her only friend, a hot Catholic priest, that she's hemorrhaging." (December 2000)
Having mechanical difficulties the contributor writes, "I've never heard anyone else say this, but I'm fond of saying [the phrase] and letting bystanders deduce what they will! ; ) (June 2001)
Having your pixies "Our family calls it 'having your pixies' or 'the pixies have come.' A coworker called using a tampon, 'smoking a white owl.' White Owl is a brand of small cigar." (February 2003)
Hemorrhaging "My ex-boyfriend and I always called it 'hemorrhaging.' I guess that is kind of negative in orientation, but it was intended as a mocking of the dramatically negative aspect society has towards menstruation. We also said 'leaking.' 'I'm leaking' was a common term. With my current boyfriend, we just call it menstruating. It's much more comfortable." (April 2003)
Her lady business "Please do not use my name, thanks. One of the girls who attends the school where I work calls it 'her lady business.' Also, I remember reading about the trial of Lizzie Borden. There was a spot of blood on her petticoat that she explained as coming from a 'mosquito bite,' which was apparently a common euphemism for menstruation in Massachusetts in 1892 (and understood by the male investigators). You have a cool site, thanks for putting it up. [The contributor also wrote something for Would you stop menstruating if you could?] (December 2005)
Her whores are moanin' "I have a friend whose very imaginative husband came up with a phrase for the period of time of her menses. He referred to the process as 'her whores are moanin' ' - a descriptive of the hormonally induced behavior of my friend during those days. We live in the Midwest USA." (March 2004)
Here comes the crimson tide see The banks of the Nile are overflowing and running red
Herman "My nickname for it is 'Herman." I don't exactly know HOW I picked Herman but I use him as a means of disguising the topic of discussion. (What would be really intriguing is to further explore WHY I insist on using a euphemism.) When my husband and I were trying to conceive, I could call him at any time and tell him 'Herman is here,' or 'I got a call from Herman,' and he'd know we weren't succesful that month. I think Herman was just a generic obscure name and neither of knew anyone who was actually named Herman, so there you have it."
High tide see Devil days
*Hitting the 57 From a male: "I propose 'Hitting the 57' as a suitable term for menstruation. Derivation: One hits the tiny '57' on the side of a stubborn bottle of Heinz ketchup to encourage it to pour." [The Oxford English Dictionary specially notes those words not known in usage, just as entries in older dictionaries, so I'll similarly indicate this theoretical expression by an *.] (May 2003)
Hoover dam "Someone who flows heavily." See Carrie. (October 2001)
Howlin' at the moon see Due for the sweatlodge
Hummer days the male contributor writes, "Paulie Shore optimistically called them 'hummer days.' His idea, apparently, was that when she was 'closed for business' his girlfriend should keep him happy with a 'hummer,' his term for a blow-job [fellatio]. I heard him use this term on a TV special, but I cannot remember the name of the show." (April 2001)
Human waterfalls see Waterfalls
[The] hunt for red October from a male who overheard female friends use it (October 2000)
I am on
see BUD
I am not praying "I am American and was raised Muslim and since women are not allowed to pray or fast during their periods we would always say that 'I am not praying' to indicate menustration." (March 2007)
I am WOMAN! the contributor writes, "My 15-year-old daughter refers to 'The red dot.' She says a few of her friends who had their period at the same time in junior high school would say 'I am WOMAN!' and act like they were really proud, which I guess is good; she would say 'Oh, shut up already' because she didn't feel proud, she just felt lousy. I've felt lousy and worse than lousy (try extreme pain and tiredness) for many years during that time." This woman also sent in (January 2001) My Uncle Charlie is visiting, The red dot and Sorry, no sex, playground's muddy. (January 2001)
I can't churn the butter today "I recently started using, 'I can't churn the butter today' because I found a line from one of my niece's books that had a list of things girls couldn't do when they had their 'time of the month' and one of them was, 'I am not allowed to churn the butter/cream.' My mother and I read this and found it funny, because it was one of a long list of things a girl wasn't allowed to do. I am in my teens. Oddly enough I started my period the day of my sister's wedding, and didn't have the nerve to ask my sister what was happening to me; it took me two days to find out. By the way, GREAT site! I love it and find it both funny and interesting." (August 2003)
Icky see Aunt Irma
I feel blah "When I was in junior high school my best friend and I used to refer to our periods by saying, 'I feel blah.' It was a good way to explain when asked, 'How are you?' We also referred to a tampon as a pencil and a pad as paper, based on a funny story we read in a teen magazine about a girl handing a guy in class a tampon when he asked for a pen. Signed, Schoolsupplies in Canada." (September 2001)
I hate that blue car "My hubby [husband] and I actually have a code. When I tell him that I hate that blue car, he understands that I'm menstruating. he also uses the term in discussion with friends. And so far no one has else has sent in 'being a girl' or 'my special time.' I often tell others when asked how I'm feeling, 'I'm being a girl.' Usually followed by, 'I hate being a girl.' When discussing menstruation with my eight-year-old daughter, I always refer to it as 'my special time, when I'm the most woman I can be.' I want her to feel good about it when it becomes a part of her life." (September 2001)
I have a mouse in "Hi. My husband has always teased me when I use tampons that I 'have a mouse in' cuz he sees the string which he calls a 'tail.' It's weird, yeah. :)" (September 2003)
I have company "I hate the term Aunt Flo, which my husband teases me about, so I instead say, 'I have company.'" (March 2005)
I have my full stop [theoretical, perhaps not yet used]"I just thought of one as I was reading through the names for menstruation, and laughing full throttle. I think I will start using it, except when visiting the UK: 'I have my full stop.' ["Full stop" in Britain means "period" in America, that dot stopping a sentence.] (February 2003)
I having my girl thing see I'm rejoicing in my womanhood
I have to go see Miss Fisher see Cut your finger
I'm having an affair this week "'I'm having an affair this week.' I guess it's a private matter, and I let him know that he's not all I'm dealing with this week in a sense." (April 2003)
I just need to go [to the restroom] "I am a male teacher. A young lady will raise her hand, be called on and come up to my desk. I ask her, 'What is it that you need?' 'I need to use the restroom.' Thereafter follows all of the obligatory fencing between student and instructor. Finally one of two things will occur. 'I just need to go' will be blurted out, or the young lady will, if she has a solid, strong personality, state, 'I need to change something.' Now, understand, I do not do this to embarrass them, just to keep down the traffic down through halls and to the restroom. Anyway, after many years of experience sometimes you recognize the way something is said more than what is said. Hadn't seen any thing like this on the site so I thought I'd fling it your way. This is a great site for men or women. Keep up the great work." "Restroom" is an American word for the room where toilets are located. (From an e-mail in November 2001)
I like my meat rare see It's that time of the month
I lost my baby "There was a time a while back when I thought/hoped I was pregnant (not really really hoped, but you know, like, would have been happy), and my roommates and I were joking about it and one of my roommates kept asking me if I was still pregnant, and then one day I said, "Well, I lost my baby," so now that's my euphemism of choice but it's not one that I use out loud, obviously. Please sign me anonymous. Great site! Thanks!" (September 2006)
I'm battling Scarlets see Fighting the Scarlet Crusade
I'm being visited by my red headed aunt "I'm born and raised in North Carolina; my mother was born and raised in Missouri. I was born in 1942. My mother was born in 1917. My mother always called it 'the pip.' I have never known what that word or those letters stood for except it was her way of saying she was having her menstrual period. Also, I had friends who referred to it as 'my red headed aunt fell off the roof,' or 'I'm being visited by my red headed aunt.' Mostly it was 'I have the pip.'" (June 2007)
I'm bleeding see RED LIGHT!
I'm bleeding all over western North Carolina "When my mother was going through menopause, and had heavy and erratic periods, she would say, 'I'm bleeding all over western North Carolina,'" writes the New Yorker, who also contributed "I'm having my full stop." (February 2003)
I'm boarding the Testy Train see The banks of the Nile are overflowing and running red
I'm closed for the holidays see The big red monster is in town
I'm closed for maintenance "Menstruating and sex: Relating to the euphemism that having sex is 'going for a ride' I tell my spouse that: 'I'm closed for renovations,' or 'I'm closed for maintenance.' When I have cramps, 'my uterus is angry.' My mom, who was very shy about this stuff, would ask my sister and I if we needed any 'supplies' before she left for the grocery store when we were kids. My brother totally figured it out despite her efforts. Michigan, 26 years old" (February 2007)
I'm closed for renovations see I'm closed for maintenance
I'm crying me a bloody river see The banks of the Nile are overflowing and running red
I'm dredging the Love Canal see The banks of the Nile are overflowing and running red
I'm dying see "I'm gifted."
I'm gifted The contributor writes, "Here are some words I and my friends use as synonyms for menstruation. I do not know if these are widespread terms; I am pretty certain a few are not.

Cork: A tampon. The Gift: I say 'I'm gifted' when I'm having it, or 'I have not received my gift yet' when not. I'm Dying: I think this is funny, but I have an odd sense of humor. As in, 'Could I steal a cork? I'm dying.' Being Drafted: I would be surprised if anyone else has thought this up, this comes from a conversation I had with my boyfriend a long time ago about how women do not have to sign up for the draft. He also brought up that we menstruate, which is the basis of his theory as to why women aren't drafted. He said, 'You bleed too much to be in the army; you're drafted once a month.' So that's what he calls it." (April 2001)

I'm going through a detrital phase "I don't know if you're still collecting and adding, but I like to use the expression: 'I'm going through a detrital phase.' I derived it from the word detritus, which means 'loose material' or 'a product of disintegration, destruction, or wearing away.' 'Detrital' is simply the adjective form of the noun. So basically, menstrual blood and such are categorized as debris, or 'detritus.' Of course, it gets interesting reactions, but that's what I aim for in the first place!" (November 2006)
I'm gushin' "My goodness, what an awesome site of history and humor. I think I have roughly been on your site for a good 2 hours now. When it comes my TOM I have a few sayings: 'It's sticky time!' (referring to Kotex). 'The kat is runnin' amok.' 'My uterus is falling apart!' "Sorry, no kitty for you." obvious indication that I'm flowing. "Im gushin'." I also look forward to getting my 'monthly,' and that same day I wish it would go away already. Thank you for such a wonderfully entertaining read!!!!!!" (Aug 2009)
I'm having a car wreck down there! see The banks of the Nile are overflowing and running red
I'm having a glass of V8 see The banks of the Nile are overflowing and running red
I'm having my euphemism today see The banks of the Nile are overflowing and running red
I'm having my period "I don't know if you are still collecting code words for menstruation, but I always just said 'I'm having my period' to other women; to men, 'I'm Pinkin'.'" (November 2006)
I'm having my very own personal St. Valentine's Day Massacre see The banks of the Nile are overflowing and running red
I'm in a special place
"My name is [withheld, but it sounds Muslim], I'm a 23-year-old student from Connecticut. When I have period, I tell my friend Wendy "I'm in a special place." (November 2001)
I'm in my state see Jenny has a red dress on
I'm just BLEEDING to death "I'm 16 and have had my period for three years and in that time, whenever one of my friends ask me how I am while I am on my period, I reply, "Yeah, I'm fine, I'm just BLEEDING to death!" writes the contributor (February 2002)
I'm not pregnant from a 29-year-old West Virginian (February 2002)
I'm on auto-drip "My friend gave me a link to your site after I posted pictures of my lovely menstration. I read the phrases people sent in for menstruation, but I didn't see a couple my b/f and I use. He uses 'Satan's little cotton fingers' to refer to tampons and when I'm menstrating we say I've become little Suzy rotton crotch. There's also 'My pussy cat is puking up blood,' 'I'm on auto-drip,' and 'White undies are out this time of month.' If you want, I can send you a picture of the painting I did with acrylics and menstral blood. Due to be sold sometime soon." (August 2003)
I'm on my pyramid see The banks of the Nile are overflowing and running red
I'm on the bus "My boyfriend and I always refer to it as 'Bleeding Uterus Syndrome,' or 'B.U.S.' Therefore, I always say 'I'm on the bus,' 'getting on the bus,' or 'the bus has left,' depending on which part of my cycle I'm at. [At the end of her e-mail she wrote, 'Only a fool looks for logic in the chambers of the human heart.']" (May 2004)
I'm on the Nile see The banks of the Nile are overflowing and running red
I'm on the Texas massacre! [No comments on the e-mail from September 2004.]
I'm out
the Hindu American contributor writes, "as in 'I'm out of the temple.' I can't go in because it's against the Hindu rules." (December 2000)
I'm out of action "I can't stand the mess of blood everywhere while having sex," writes the contributor, who found the MUM site after examining the history list of where her daughter had been cyber-surfing. (August 2001)
I'm painting the town red see The banks of the Nile are overflowing and running red
I'm pinkin' see I'm having my period
I'm puctuating see Punctuating, I'm
I'm pumping death
see The banks of the Nile are overflowing and running red
I'm rebooting the Ovarian Operating System see The banks of the Nile are overflowing and running red
I'm regular "Love the site!! When I was in high school (upstate New York, 1970s) and we had swimming in gym class, if you had your period you just had to respond 'I'm Regular' when they took attendance and you'd be excused from going in the water. Some girls were 'Regular' three out of four weeks!! [signed] ****" (August 2006)
I'm rejoicing in my womanhood "Several years ago when I was the costumer for a theater, I could not miss a show for any reason... including severe cramping. So, between set-ups or changes, I would curl up on the greenroom couch with a heating pad. Since we changed actors every 6 weeks or so, I ended up being asked "Are you ok?" pretty much every time. 'I'm rejoicing in my womanhood' would be my answer... delivered through clenched teeth! Nowadays, I tend to use my mum-in-law's term 'I have my girl thing'.... however, even though we are finished having children, my husband always sort of wanted a couple more... and so to let him know that I've started I usually say to him, 'Well, your little plan failed this month.' I have killed HOURS this week flipping through your site! It is both funny and horrifying! Thanks for all your work putting it together! (March 2009)
I'm seducing the vampires see The banks of the Nile are overflowing and running red
I'm sick cited as old fashioned in the booklet "Getting to know YOURSELF," 1962, Campana Corp. (cover); Campana made Pursettes tampons
I'm sitting on a nice merlot see The banks of the Nile are overflowing and running red
I'm smoking a ladies' cigar see The banks of the Nile are overflowing and running red
I'm suffocating little white mice "From the days when I used tampons, it was always, 'I'm suffocating little white mice.' Or  if my partner was trying to initiate things, the response was, 'There are strings attached.'" (June 2005)
I'm T minus nine months and holding see The banks of the Nile are overflowing and running red
I'm X "The school I went to in the U.S.A. had it's own swimming pool so that meant alot of our sports was based around swimming. Back then in the 70's alot of us didn't use tampons so swimming was out - you'd have to sit on the bleachers and watch - at roll call you'd have to say 'I'm X"' I s'pose that was short for 'I'm eXcused.' When I got to Australia everyone used tampons so having your period was no excuse for not swimming! My new friends teased me about my (big bulky) pad usage and called it 'sitting on Uncle Billy's knee' - because my friend had a truly awful uncle who was always wanting her to straddle his knee. (She knew how to deal with this old pervert; she'd fart on him. Big noisy ones too. I too have learnt the Art of Strategic Windbreaking.)" (December 2005)
I've got a red eye see The banks of the Nile are overflowing and running red
I've got Grover "This is an expression used by my sweety and her sister, who are in their 40s. Unknown etiology." Sent by a man. (October 2006)
I need to change something See I just need to go [to the restroom] (November 2001)
I sat on a tomato "I am with everyone else who loves your site. We all sat around and laughed uproariously! I'll throw in my wife's euphemism for menstruation. She says, 'I sat on a tomato.' During her heaviest time that's how she described the feeling of it to me, a guy, who can't understand how uncomfortable this time of the month can be for a woman. Of course it's also color appropriate." (May 2007)
I started see Took, tooking
[The] Imperial Guards are in residence "Coined by an ex-girlfriend Star Wars fan. Referring of course to those guys clad in red that hung around by the side of the Emperor in Return of the Jedi." (May 2004)
Inauguration see Aunt Irma
Incapacitated "This was the excuse my mother gave me as a young teenager for not going swimming with some friends. 'I am incapacitated at this time.' From a 31-year-old Kansan raised in New Mexico. (September 2001)
In celebration "My boyfriend and I use the term 'In celebration' as short for 'In celebration of my Uterus,' which I believe is a title of an Anne Sexton poem. We figure that it is a celebration if we are one more month away from pregnancy. I also use the term 'happy and bleeding' from the PJ Harvey song." (November 2004)
Indisposed "Back in the day, it was common and expected for women, especially young women, to stay home and avoid social gatherings and activities at 'that time of the month.' If someone inquired about the girl's absence, the genteel response would be, 'She is indisposed.' It
was only used for an absent third person, in discretely quiet tones.  KB, Portland, USA" (August 2012).  German uses a similar word, unpäßlich, as in "The Indisposed Woman," "Die unpäßliche Frau," the title of a book by Sabine Hering and Gudrun Maierhof (Pfaffenweiler, Germany, 1991) from which I took information about Spalt pain tablets from the 1930s as well as a Nazi magazine cover, both here.
Injured reserves "My husband gave it the nickname 'injured reserved.' He is such a sports fantic! This was his way of asking if we could still do the 'nasty' since I wouldn't do it then." (February 2003)
In my moon "My daughter and I say 'In my moon' when we have ours. When I was young, my own mother and I called our periods 'Ethel.' I was a big I Love Lucy fan back then and I guess that is where that came from. [Ethel played on the show.]" (January 2007)
In synch see Synching up
In the abyss "My husband has coined the phrase when I am on my cycle, 'In the abyss.' (You should look up the definition of the abyss in It's pretty fun and so true.) On a side note he also usually bon voyages me there because just before that time I seem to be more amorous. I wonder if this is true for most women?" [Almost 100 years ago famous Scottish doctor Marie Stopes showed on a chart - bottom of page - that it was true for many women.] (December 2006)
In the house of the Moon "I was reading about the code words that people use for menstruation and wanted to contribute some that I did not see there. The first one is gross and came from an old high school friend of mine. He loved to say outrageous things just to get us girls mad. He called menstruating 'Making vampire tea bags.' It is gross, but being a slightly morbid girl I thought it was clever. My favorite one that I use is the 'Red Red Krovvy,' which is the slang that is used to refer to blood from the book/movie 'A Clockwork Orange.' You can say it in front of people and they are unlikely to know what you mean unless they have seen the film or read the book. I am 28 years old and look at menstruation as an important part of womanhood. A couple of other ones that I have heard that I liked were 'In the red tent,' which I believe comes from a book called 'The Red Tent,' and 'In the house of the Moon,' which also comes from a book by the same name. Another one that I really like is 'Water of life.' Wiccans believe that a woman's magical and psychic abilities are highest when she is menstruating, and they refer to menstrual fluid as the water of life. Thanks for having such a great site on menstruation." (May 2002)
In the red tent see In the house of the Moon
[The] Invasion of the Red Army see Happy Escapade
Is it messy? "As a woman who studies female sexuality in relation to the Roman Catholic Church and Mexican American women I just loved your site. I thought I would submit another 'word or expression' that I didn't see mentioned. Whenever my boyfriend and I get frisky and it's that time of the month we generally ask/say 'Is it messy?' 'It's going to be messy.'" (November 2004)
Is there anything on my butt? see Bloody snot
Issue "Hi. I happened upon your site while doing a search on the Web for women's underpants! I haven't really had the opportunity to scour the site, but I did come across your page of euphemisms for menses. I noticed you do not have the ones I commonly use, so I'd like to submit them. I most often call it '[my] issue,' as in 'unclean issue' or 'issue of her blood.' The other term I use (although infrequently) is '[my] flowers.' Both these terms come from the scriptures of the Holy Bible (Leviticus, chapters 12 and 15, for example). I am more inclined to use the latter if I fear strange ears may be privy to my conversation. My name is ***, and I'm a 27-year old, child-free Israelite (not Israeli, but IsraeITE) wife of eight years. My husband and I live in the state of Mississippi, in the U.S.A." (January 2003)
It "No explanation needed," writes the contributor. See Carrie. (October 2001).  My Girlfriend back in College was on the pill and we were pretty committed at the time so we stopped using condoms after a while. Always worried that she'd get pregnant so I'd ask her from time to time if she got "it". Most of the time I'd ask her was over the phone with either family or friends
around so we joked on what would be good code. So we came up with I'd ask her if she found my movie or her movie. The movies we always asked about were "The Hunt for Red October" "Red Dawn" "Where the Red Fern Grows" .....etc. Anything with Blood or Red in the title. But of course the top movie pick to discuss in code if she got her period was "There will be Blood." Thank you,  Joe,  USA, Maryland (February 2012)
It is Day (1-5) of (bleeders') Lunar Calendar See I'm not pregnant (February 2002)
It's arts and crafts week in panties land the contributor, 21, and from Mississippi, writes, "I've recently started saying, 'It's arts and crafts week in panties land.'" (August 2002)
It's going to be messy see Is it messy?
It's hunting season "[Menstruation] feels good; I have a preference for joyous sliminess. [She writes this partly as a contribution to the Stop menstruation page.] Menarche at sixteen, I was a gymnast and tomboy and not too keen on the idea. Age of menarche is directly related to body fat and gymnasts don't have much of that. The only person I've known who was older than I when she started was my coach, age eighteen. It doesn't bother me much, I eat okay and exercise. It's one of the reasons women live longer: we're a more advanced self-cleaning system. Here's to add to your euphemisms for menstruation section: It's hunting season. (Horniness ensues and the quest for the perfect mate is on.) Love your site." (January 2003)
It's Lestat time see The banks of the Nile are overflowing and running red
It's raining down south (a)
It's sticky time see I'm gushin'
It's that time of the month a woman writes, "When I was married to my first husband in the 70's, he wanted to have sex whether I was on my period or not. I would tell him 'No, it's that time of the month,' and he would say, 'That's okay, I like my meat rare.' This is definitely the strangest thing I've ever heard of as someone's interest, especially a man. I'll say a prayer for you. Have a bloody good day." (May 2002) See also That time of the month.
It's the blood of St. Menses "I have no idea how I got to this site, possibly However, I will share a term that was used on a Firesign Theatre album called The 'Tale of the Giant Rat of Sumatra.' One of the characters reads the line, 'By the Blood of St. Menses.' It is quite a funny album, a parody of a Sherlock Holmes episode. I use the term, it's the Blood of St. Menses, when describing women's periods," writes a male. (July 2004)
It's time see Moon's blood
It's time for the BIG bag of M&Ms the 29-year-old white Midwesterner writes, "I once had a boss (Midwestern Caucasian woman a couple of years older than I was) who would always say [this]." (April 2001)
It's time to empty out see Cup week
It's time to feed the kitty "I have a friend who, when she needs to change her tampon, says, 'It's time to feed the kitty.' The writer's e-mail was entitled The Thin Red Line. (May 2004)
It's time to get a refill see Cup week
It's time to get my wife's oil changed or My wife's getting her oil changed this week "I work with all men as a welder in heavy steel structures construction and have done so for over 20 years. The two phrases that I hear them use all the time are 1. 'It's time to get my wife's oil changed,' or 'My wife's getting her oil changed this week' and 2., since hunting is big out here in the West, they will refer that time of the month as 'Otter Season,' which stands for OTR - On the Rag - Season. I also heard this term used all through high school many years ago." See also OTR, from another contributor. (February 2004)
I've been shot See Bullets. (October 2001)
It's Tuesday "[W]hen I was on the pill, my period would start the Tuesday of the week with the non-active pills like clockwork.  People who knew me well enough, particularly boyfriends would understand.  :-) (September 2011)
I've got my flowers "flowers" goes back hundreds of years, apparently originally a brewing term; it's used also in German; see below
I've got my friend
I've got the curse
cited as old fashioned in the booklet Getting to know yourself, 1962, Campana Corp. (cover); Campana made Pursettes tampons
I've got the grannies (a)
"My friends and I started to call it that not only to be discreet when discussing it in public but mostly because who else but a man would make you feel this way every month!!! Then I proceeded to name my cat Jake and he turned out to be way out of control so that just proves our theory correct. By the way I love this site and I wish I had found it sooner!!" (November 2003)
Jam and bread (a)
Jenny has a red dress on "(Jenny as in GENI-talia); 'My crimpka poosh' - from the '70s sitcom 'Taxi'; 'Riding the red highway'; 'en periodo' - Spanish and pretty straightforward. Used this with my boyfriend, who was Latino; 'I'm in my state'; 'Received my monthly statement.'" (September 2003)
The joy of womanhood "My own little favorite is 'The joy of momanhood.' For instance, if a friend/relative comments that I look peaked I'll say "Yeah, the joy of womanhood." [The contributor corrected my substitution of 'piqued' for the correct 'peaked' with the following: 'The word "peaked" is an American colloquialism for feeling vaguely but nonspecifically unwell - you would say, "You look kind of peaked today." Pronounced like "blessed" or "learned," as two syllables (most e-mail apps don't allow for adding accent marks).'] Or if I need to make an emergency run to the restroom, for example, and I have to ask an aide to watch my class (I teach 2nd grade) - 'You know, the joy of womanhood.' I'm not sure how I came up with this, it is only partly sarcastic as menstruation is basically a positive thing for me. Never heard anyone else say it except my friend and her sisters who picked it up from me. Haven't seen any of them in a few years so I don't know if they still say it. Sometimes when I was just sitting around the house with my ex-husband, I would say 'bleed bleed bleed,' just as a general commentary on the moment. Kind of like saying 'life goes on' or 'whatever.' Also, I note that you have 'Riding the cotton pony,' but not the variant 'Riding the cotton stallion.' I will leave you to speculate on the symbolism of stallions. (from an African-American, December 2002)
[The] kat is runnin' amok see I'm gushin'
Keys tampons see Driving in a red car
Kill the babies "I'm 21, from Connecticut, and when my dad or brother catch me being 'moody' and start to complain about my attitude, me and mother say 'Would you look at the calendar?' Also, while in college in Cambridge, Mass., I was in an all-girls dorm that was painted red and within the first month the boys across the street starting referring to our house as 'the red tent' [the name of a famous book about menstruation]. My friends and I refer to cramps by holding our stomaches and saying, 'Kill the babies,' i.e. we're glad to have our periods cause we know we're not pregnant! Love the site,***" (October 2006)
[The] kitty is sick "I refer to my vagina as my kitty, and when it bleeds, the kitty is sick. So when my boyfriend is in the mood, I tell him No, kitty's sick." (May 2004)
Kitty food see My kitty ran away (October 2001)
Kotex Many Americans call menstrual pads Kotex regardless of brand. Kotex was the first big success in menstrual napkins in America.
Lady days see Being a lady
Lady in the red dress (a)
Lailah's kicking me "I have PCOS, and today I got my period for the first time in 175 days.
Naturally, I went through your list of sayings to figure out which one I
should use to post on Facebook, given that a natural onset period is Ö a
rare and momentous event for me.
I often induce with tea -- Do you have a link to Sister Zeus any [] where on your site? That's where I found out how I
could use tea instead of birth control to keep my cycle regular if/when I
feel like it.  I should probably do it more often; blah blah endometrial
cancer, but I think I enjoy too much the fact that I can go months without
a period.
I realized today that I've come up with a few saying myself.
If it's a really bad period, as it often is if it's been a while since my
last one, I say I'm 'out of practice' -- that is, not used to the cramps
and how lousy it makes me feel.
I also say 'Lailah's kicking me' when I get cramps -- this is a reference
to, the angel of babies-to-be. Cramps
always feel to me like a little angel is in my uterus kicking me with tiny
steel-toed boots, so I assume it must be Lailah and she's mad she didn't
get to teach a fetus the secrets of the world. :D
I love your site! Keep up the good work. :D"
**** (April 2013)
Leak week A woman from Florida writes, "I don't remember how I came up with it but I was on my period hanging out drinking with my friends. One guy started talking and saying that he knew EVERYTHING! So I told him that it was 'leak week' and to shut up or he was going to piss me off!" (September 2001)
Leaking see Hemorrhaging and Drainage
Leaky basement "Here's a term for bleeding: 'leaky basement'! My friend Cassy thought it up and her, me, and my boyfriend use it all the time," writes the contributor. (June 2001)
Leaky faucet see Waterfalls
Light "I have no idea of the origin, but growing up here in the Midwest [U.S.A.] in the 1960s, girls in junior high school and high school were excused from having to shower after gym class when reporting 'light' at roll call when attendance was taken. I think this also excused you from swimming class, even though the use of tampons was common," writes the contributor. (March 2002)
Little Miss see Girl stuff
Little visitor used in a letter to Would you stop menstruating if you could? (July 2004)
Lipstick "I absolutely love your Web site and your dedication to educating on somewhat of a 'taboo' subject. When reading the different words and phrases dealing with menstruation, I was reminded of junior high, when all that bleeding business was new and embarrassing. My friends and I used to ask each other (when in need of a tampon) for lipstick. I suppose a tube of lipstick and a tampon are similar in shape, but it turned out to be a good laugh," writes the woman from College Station, Texas. (September 2002)
Little enemy "[T]his is because I dread each time I have my period because it is painful and not very pleasent," writes the contributor. (July 2002)
Little Red Riding Hood is making her way through the woods "In middle school I said to my friends once that Little Red Riding Hood was making her way through the woods. It just stuck, and I've been using it on occasion ever since. It seems very visual to me, Little Red Riding Hood being the blood and the woods being my body," writes the "26-year-old originally from the Midwest, now living smack in the middle of Washington, D.C.!" (March 2002)
Little Suzy rotton crotch see I'm on auto-drip
Losin' streak "As in 'Baby, better come back the very next week, Can't you see I'm on a losin' streak' from 'Satisfaction' by the Stones. ****, Showing my age at 59, Midwife, Atlanta, Georgia" (January 2006)
Losing my lining "Losing my lining" - my dear friend Susan came up with this (she died of uterine cancer, quickly and unexpectedly) and we'd use it in front of her husband - it drove him crazy - his whole body cringed." (November 2003)
Luggage see Ugly Sister
Lunar the Hindu woman from New Mexico writes, "a personal fave [favorite] because it denotes the change in consciousness and reality, even a re-claiming of 'lunatic' and moon phraseology (being an all-purpose physical/emotional/spiritual description.)" (2001)
the contributor, formerly a librarian at a well-known New York museum who visited the physical MUM shortly after it opened, writes, "When my cousin Maryann was in high school 20 years ago and a girl couldn't use the pool which was required during gym class because she was having her period, she would simply say 'M' quietly to the gym teacher who would excuse her from going in the pool. The 'M' obviously meant 'I am menstruating.' My cousin and her friends would use 'M' as a code even outside of the gym circumstance." (August 2002)
Magazine "I just saw your Web site. It's hilarious and informative. I wanted to let you know that when a couple of friends and I got our periods, we called it a 'magazine' so nobody would know what we were referring to. When it was over, we said our subscription had expired. And, when it was gonna start, we'd ask each other, 'Did your magazine come yet?' This was during high school. If it matters, I'm a 26-year-old mother of three in Indiana, U.S.A. I plan on using a few on the Web site for my daughter and me when she's old enough." (September 2002)
Maggie on a string "When I get my period, we refer to it as a 'Maggie on a string'; the string refers to the tampon. We also call the tampons bullets, as I saw you already had listed. I think it is funny that my nick-name Maggie has been used to refer to menstruation before. Makes me feel kind of special, actually :-)," writes the contributor, who has a Web site called Maggie's Modest Christian Clothing and grandparents from Appalachia. (June 2002)
Maggie's drawers "Doesn't mean menstruation, but: on the military rifle range, when the shooter misses the target the spotter in the pit waves a red flag indicating a miss. That red flag is called 'Maggie's Drawers,'" e-mails a male contributor, 2000.
Magic of the month "Hi - I am in the United Kingdom but love my American friend ****'s description of a period as being the 'Magic of the Month.' I've referred to it thus ever since. Since looking at your site I might give 'Communists have invaded the summer house' a go next time I need to mention it!" (June 2006)
Making vampire teabags see In the house of the Moon
Man-hole cover "I'm a 42-year-old male and just noticed your Web address in a book of 'odd museums.' After reviewing the 'words and expressions' section of your site, I was surprised to see that 'man-hole covers' was not listed! I grew up in the northwest suburbs of Chicago and, at least among us guys, that was about the only expression I ever heard used for pads. (Sometimes just the brand name Kotex was used for all types of pads.) Here's another one, not so common: 'tamp-in' for tampons. There are several types of concrete anchors that are installed by drilling a hole and then tamping (tapping) the anchor in place, afterwards the anchor is permanently expanded with a bolt. These are sold under many brand names, but one is or was called a 'tamp-in.' The sound is the same, the action similar. I don't know; maybe that's where it comes from. Thanks for a funny, informative Web site!" (February 2002)
Martha coming to visit the contributor writes, "My wife's family (four girls) refers to their period as [this]." (January 2000)
Mattress see George
Mattressi see George
[The] mean reds a woman writes, "In the movie 'Breakfast at Tiffanys,' Holly Golightly, a prostitute, refers to them as 'the mean reds.'" (March 2001)
Meanstruation "I claim this one!" chortled the creator of this MUM web site when he misspelled "menstruation" on one of these Web pages, since corrected. "And I'm just a guy!" he rechortled. (January 2013)
Me bajo la regla see Period
Men are demonstrating "The funniest one I've heard (here in the Midwest) is 'men are demonstrating.' I particularly like the 'demon' in there!" (May 2004)
Menestrate "As in 'Women menestrate once a month.' As embarrassing as it may be, I think this word should be included in your list because 70 percent of American males mistakenly use it instead of menstruate. People who use this term are susceptible to saying 'morphidite' when they mean hermaphrodite. Thanks for your (in)site." Salem, Oregon (January 2005)
Menseason "It's menseason! (menses season=menseason)" (October 2003)
see Mr. Y'know
Midol season
see The big red monster is in town
Mommy's apples see Potty
Mommy's tail
see Drainage
[The] monkey has a nosebleed
The male who sent this writes, "When I was young, menstruation was referred to by my male friends as 'The monkey has a nose bleed.' 'Monkey' is a vulgar term for a woman's vagina." (May 2001) Later, a woman wrote: "First off, I LOVE the MUM site. I'm just writing to elaborate on the expression 'the monkey has a nosebleed' as a reference to menstruation. A few years ago I heard the saying, the circus is closed, the monkey has a nosebleed. Since that day when referring to having my 'monthly visitor,' I say, 'the circus is closed, the monkey has a nosebleed.' I don't think it's a very popular saying however it sure does get a good laugh from whoever hears it." (April 2008)
Monsoon season "I always heard 'monsoon season,' and it seemed appropriate to me. I am from the southeast U.S.A." (September 2001)
[The] Monster see Getting my monthly subscription in the mail
[The] Monster is coming see Rosie Red
Monthlies common word used in letters to the Would you stop menstruating if you could? page on this site. (Jul 2004) Used also in a birth-control booklet in 1933 and the Kotex booklet for girls "As one Girl to Another" (1943).
Monthly bill
"An ex-girlfriend used to tell me it was that 'time' by saying that she got her 'monthly bill.' Thought you might want to add that ;)" (from a male, April 2002). But just one day later - menstruation works in strange ways! - another e-mail submitted "Her monthly bill came early," and attributed it to the movie "Sixteen Candles." (April 2002)
Monthly evacuations
Monthly hurts a contributor to Would you stop menstruating if you could? sent this as part of a poem:
The part that makes us female,
Isn't shopping, cooking, or skirts,
Or dating a man
Or wearing a bra
Or getting the monthly hurts.
(November 2004)
Monthly issue "Monthly issue. Learned from a librarian. Girl flu. I made it up. I wanted something short to use at work," writes a New Yorker. (February 2002)
Monthy monster from a male who overheard female friends use it (October 2000)
Monthly return (a)
Monthly time see usage in an American patent medicine booklet (left-hand page) from the decade before 1920
Monthly troubles (a) see usage in an American patent medicine booklet (left-hand page) from the decade before 1920
Monthly turns (a)
Monthly visit from my friend see Monthly visitor
Monthly visitor "I always use 'monthly visitor' or 'monthly visit from my friend.' I'm surprised that neither one of those were on your list as I think they are quite commonly used by woman of all ages. My mother used it, I use it and now my daughters are using it. It's a generational thing," e-mailed the contributor. (July 2002)
Mookie time "I first read about your museum in Bust. Sadly, it took me while to check out your Web site, but it's truly fantastic. I have another period nickname for you: My roommate sophomore year of college calls it 'mookie time' and tampons were 'mookie sticks.' We also used to call the a big gush of blood (like when you got up in the morning after lying down all night) a 'splooge.' Thanks and keep up the great work!" **** San Diego, California (April 2003)
Moonflow see Moon's blood
Moon flux see Cup week
Moon's blood "Moonflow, moonblood, moon's blood: all of these refer to the synchronization of the menstrual cycle with that of the waxing and waning of the moon, and also with the association of menstruation and fertility with the moon Goddess. Blessings of Lady: this, like those terms that reference the moon, acknowledges that menstruation is a gift of the Goddess, a blessing that bestows upon women fertility and the ability to bring forth life. Being touched by the Goddess (refers to all menses, but most often used with menarche): This refers most often to menarche, as it indicates that it is the touch of the Goddess that transforms a girl into a woman. Still, it can be used to refer to menstruation in general, as it is a testament to the power and blessings of the Goddess bestowed upon all women. Bringing forth life to pass: This refers to the blood's association with life, and its being acknowledged as the essence of life. Not only is a menstruating woman passing on that which might have become life, she is returning to the earth the life from her womb, that it may become again the blood of the Goddess, flowing through rivers and seas, to bring life to the world again. Attracting the lesbian vampires: this is a reference to a bad joke popularized via the Internet: 'What did one lesbian vampire say to the other?' 'See you next month!' [See the MUM humor page.] It's time: self explanatory. It's time for menses, and everything that comes with it. Thank god/the gods! the pills/condoms/diaphragm/etc. worked [again]!: A joyous exclamation heard by many women and couples who are ardently attempting not to conceive. Cherry drink: an allusion to a vulgar children's rhyme about bodily functions, which my friends and I found hilarious when we were 10:

Milk, milk,
Round the corner, chocolate's made.
Stick your finger up the hole; now you've got a Tootsie Roll! [A Tootsie Roll is an American candy shaped like a, well, little turd.]

Each food item was accompanied by pointing to the body part which might produce something of the same color. My friends and I all cracked up when one of us changed the song to 'Milk, milk, cherry drink ...' and it was cherry drink from then on. The lady parts problem, That thing with the lady parts: from a television show, That 70's Show, which referred to menopause by the same term, and which likely is used by many men. A note on 'red wing.' I've heard this term used to refer to the act of anyone performing cunnilingus on a woman during her menses, not just another woman, as your contributor for this term speculated. If it matters, I am 19 years old, Caucasian, female, pagan, and living in Maryland. Also, for more information on modern washable pads, padded period underwear, menstrual sponges, and menstrual cups, visit the lunapads website (I noticed you did not include their products in your washable pads section [it's on the links page], and they are my favourite):" (July 2005)
Mooning from a Hindu woman in New Mexica (U.S.A., December 2000)
Moonblood see Moon's blood
Moon Maid see Girl stuff
Moon-time from a Hindu woman in New Mexica (U.S.A., December 2000); also as Moontime from the contributor of [The] painters are here." (March 2002)
Mortimer Menses see Mr. Y'know
Mosquito bite see Her lady business
Mother Nature's gift (a)
Mother Nature's staying in my hotel the contributor writes, "My friends and I in high school always used to say [this phrase]. I think we were confusing several metaphors, but nevertheless that is the phrase I use to this day. Or I say, 'My uterine lining is in the sloughing phase,' from science textbooks." (May 2001)
Mouse see I have a mouse in
Mouse mattresses see The eagle has landed
Mouse mummies see Cut your finger
Mousy tail "My husband calls tampons mousy tails. I was the first woman he knew who used tampons, as opposed to pads. He said he could see my mousy tail. Now, if he is looking for sex and I have my period I say I'm mousy tail." (July 2007)
Mr. Grumpy "I live in South Louisiana (Baton Rouge), and some people down here call a woman's period 'Mr. Grumpy.' Obviously women (or should I say men?) down here suffer from more severe PMS than anywhere else, since I've only heard it here." (March 2002)
Mr. Monthly Cranky Business "I didn't see 'Mr. Monthly Cranky Business' anywhere. I first heard that on the Moby and Matthews radio show in Houston in the eighties." The contributor entitled the e-mail "I can't believe I just spent 10 minutes reading this, but . . ." (July 2002)
Mr. Y'know "In high school, my friend called her period 'Mr. Y'know'. He would visit 3 other girls the rest of the month, and sometimes he'd get caught up, which is why he was sometimes late. My period is named Mortimer Menses. He doesn't visit anyone else, which is why he's almost always a little early. He travels the world in between. My boyfriend said that anthropomorphizing my period will make it sad when I go through menopause. He's probably right. Big blobs of menstrual fluid are menstruos and those globs of vaginal fluid you get when you're ovulating are ovulatoes. I guess you should leave me anonymous, to keep my friend's identity anonymous. Thanks!" (June 2008)
Muddy waters see Devil days
Muscular turbulance see Aunt Flo sent someone else in her place
My Aunt Flo from Red River is visiting. "My Expression for Menstruation is something I've borrowed from others and tried to add to. I say, 'My Aunt Flo from Red River is visiting.' And if it's a particularly heavy or uncomfortable flow, I add, 'And I have to go to the train station to pick up all her baggage.' That basically says it all." (September 2008)
My aunt, Big Red "My friends and I use this one all the time when referring to our periods. A lot of women call their period their aunt, but we decided to call our period Big red for obvious reasons. We joke around with the guys about it all the time. 'My aunt is visiting, I like to call her Big Red.'" (August 2001)
My bloods the Hindu New Mexico (U.S.A.) contributor writes, "I heard a friend say this the other day. It was empowering; warrior-like." (December 2000)
My body hates me "This is what my friend says," writes the 15-year-old contributor. See Carrie. (October 2001)
My cousin from Russia is visiting "We always say 'My cousin from Russia is visiting!!' I dont know the origin, but I've said it for 20 years!" (March 2003) In other languages, Norwegian for example, Russia is associated with red because of communism, which adopted red as its color.
My cousin's in town the contributor writes, "My African-American friends say 'My cousin's in town.'" Compare with the "red-headed cousin," below, which is probably from a Caucasian. (November 2000)
My cousin Pierre is visiting the informant writes, "In middle school [about 13-15 years of age] in the 70s we would say this, Pierre meaning 'period.'" (January 2001)
My cup of joy is overflowing "Some of my friends and I use The Keeper [menstrual cup - here], which somewhat resembles a goblet without the base. Since the first few days are usually the heaviest, and thus requiring more frequent emptying, when we start our period we say that our cup of joy is overflowing. This phrase also reminds us that we can treat our period as a blessing as opposed to a curse. I've never heard anyone outside our small circle of friends say this. We all attend a small college in Ohio [U.S.A.]. I am 18." (April 2002)
My cup runneth over see Fighting the Scarlet Crusade
My friend from the south is visiting "I'm an American high-school student (female). An expression that I sometimes use with my female friends is 'my friend from the south is visiting.' I think I'm the only one among my friends that uses it, though; I've never heard anyone say it. It doesn't have a real origin, it's just that our periods are located 'southwardly' and some people call it a friend." (September 2001)
My girlie "I refer to my monthly visitor as 'my girlie.' She visits every 28 days or so. When asked to do something I would rather not, as I want to just take Aleve and eat pizza, I say, 'Can't, cause my girlie is visiting,'" writes the vice president of a company. (January 2002)
My granny was visiting "My husband was quite amused by the term 'my granny was visiting,' a term I learned in junior high. So, having a way with words, he updated it for today's slang to 'G's in the 'hood,'" e-mails the contributor. (July 2002)
My kitty ran away "When my best friend and I were in junior high together in Park Ridge, Illinois, we'd let each other know that we were having our time by saying 'My kitty ran away.' or if we needed a tampon we'd ask, 'Do you have any kitty food? My kitty ran away.' This was so confusing to anyone who overheard, which made it so much fun!" (October 2001)
My crimpka poosh see Jenny has a red dress on
My little Monica is weeping see The banks of the Nile are overflowing and running red
My little visitor from the context of an e-mail, September 2000
My magazine see periodical
My ovaries are eating my intestines see red flag (July 2001)
My ovaries are shedding "A friend and I have used the phrase 'my ovaries are shedding' ever since we found that it could render most people into fits of giggles or desgusted gasps, depending on their views of menstruation. It's very similar to 'my ovaries are bleeding' which I saw listed, and also use, though I enjoy the descriptive power of 'shedding' and different images which it creates. I hope that this term was not already listed - I only read the North American terms in any great detail. I've really enjoyed your site. Entertaining and enlightning." (November 2005)
My period
My pussy cat has a nose bleed
(or Esmeralda has a nosebleed) writes a woman, quoting what she says. Pussy is American slang for the vulva and/or the vagina. (January 2001)
My pussy cat is puking up blood see I'm on auto-drip
My red-headed aunt from Red Bank (a)
My red headed aunt fell off the roof see I'm being visited by my red headed aunt
My red-headed cousin from Virginia is here the contributor e-mailed, "I'm from [the state of] Maryland (I'm 22 years old) and in middle school [for children about 13-15 years old] girls would say, 'My red-headed cousin from [the neighboring state of] Virginia is here.' I don't know from whom or where it came!" (January 2001)
My red-headed friend (a)
My sick time see usage in an American patent medicine booklet from the decade before 1920
My special time see I hate that blue car (September 2001)
My time "I always use the term 'My time,' abbreviated I guess from 'It's my time of the month.' In grade school, my girlfriends would say 'Cousin George is here' with tremendous 12-year-old drama," writes the contributor. (April 2001)
My transmission is going to fall out see How are your gears shifting? (May 2002)
My Uncle Charlie is visiting The contributor writes, "During the early 1970s in San Antonio, Texas, parochial school girls attending a prestigious school for girls used 'My Uncle Charlie is visiting' as a code phrase for having their periods." [The same contributor sent "Sorry, no sex, playground's muddy," "The red dot" and "I am woman!"] (January 2001)
My uterus hurts see Bleeding out my vagina
My uterus is angry see I'm closed for maintenance
My uterus is bleeding "I tend to tell people matter-of-factly, 'My uterus is bleeding.' It's a great way to create awkward silences. By the way, I'm 16 years old and live in New Jersey and my uterus is bleeding right now and I hate hate HATE it." (October 2003)
My uterus is falling apart! see I'm gushin'
My Uterus is on fire "My friends and I always use 'My Uterus is on fire,' or that there is 'A Volcano in my uterus.' Referring to the cramps and such." (December 2003)
"When I'm on my period, my boyfriend refers to me as being 'out of commission' or 'N/A' (not available)!" writes the contributor (October 2001)
Nature see Courses
Need supplies see periodical
Nixon "I have two contributions for words and expressions used for menstruation: the first one is 'Nixon,' which was what some girls called it in junior high school - and yes, that was way back when Nixon was president, right around the time he got in trouble and had to resign. The second word is 'Rdme,' pronounced 'ar-dee-mee' - this is a word my best friend and I made up. I don't remember that we were consciously aware of the allusion to 'red-me'; we just wanted a secret word that only the two of us understood. (We are still best friends, by the way, 30 years later :)" (October 2002)
No-go zone see The big red monster is in town
Nosebleed pillow "I sometimes refer my period as the 'nosebleed pillow. ' The first day I got my period I woke up and my pillow was covered in blood and I thought to myself 'this is gonna be a very eventful day' so that afternoon I got it and I called my mom and told her about it and she said 'your nose and your vagina bled on the same day' (I cried because I didn't think having my first menstrual was funny) and later I realized that I never wanted my brothers to know I had a period ever! (I wanted them to die thinking I never had a period, which was ridiculous) [added emphasis] so I began saying nosebleed pillow when I addressed my period in front of my brothers. I would also like to say that I am fifteen years old and I am from Montclair, New Jersey, and I got my period in the eighth grade. I also call my period 'the comma' because of punctuation. A period is a comma with no tail." She contributed to Would you stop menstruating if you could? ("I thank God that he gave women so many gifts") (August 2009)
Not a good day see Diaper
Not PC compatible (see Not user friendly) (January 2001)
Not this time "'Not this time'" is a phrase I use with my husband. He drives over the road for a national trucking company and is often out on average for three weeks. Never fails though that at least every two or yhree months, he hits the wrong week to be home. I developed the phrase as a way to tell him descreetly that we would not be otherwise occupied, without the kids catching on. I am from the Midwest, white and a 28-year-old mother of 3. (March 2003)
Not tonight, dear, Miss Scarlett's coming home to Tara see The banks of the Nile are overflowing and running red
Not tonight, Mark Anthony, I'm on my pyramid see The banks of the Nile are overflowing and running red
Not user friendly the contributor writes, "My friend's husband says she is, 'Not User Friendly.' My spin on it is 'Not PC Compatible.' Those are both home-grown slang terms with a techno-weenie twist. My sister says she is 'Hating Life.' Otherwise, we generally use Aunt Flow or Gramma." (January 2001)
"Off" days occurs in the text of an ad for Beltx belts (for holding menstrual pads), August 1949 (here)
Off the roof "'Off the roof' was the phrase used when I was at summer camp (Camp Strawderman, near Front Royal, Virginia, U.S.A.,) in the late 60's and early 70's. The counselors would use it in a note to excuse us from swimming. I have no idea where the phrase originated, or how long it had been used at camp - that one has been operating since I think the late 30's or early 40's!" **** in Northern Virginia (April 2003)
Offering the sacrifice "'Offering the sacrifice' - as in the Old Testament of the Bible, spiritual life was sustained by the shedding of blood, and in the New Testament, Jesus shed blood so that we might enter into eternal life. Life, blood, and sacrifice are all inseperable realities. I am a 31-year-old Catholic woman from Tennessee. I love your Web site!" (August 2003)
Old Faithful (a) the name of a famous geyser in Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming, U.S.A.
On my period "When I'm on my period, my boyfriend refers to me as being 'out of commission' or 'N/A' (not available)!" writes the contributor (October 2001)
On the dot see Girl stuff
On the Fuh "'On the Fuh' is a term my mother's friends came up with when they were menstrual rookies. It refers to the fact the whenever you're on your period and you stand up after sitting for a while, everything just kind of rushes down - sort of goes 'FUH!' immediately after which you race to a bathroom to get rid of the gooky feeling. My mother and her friends now say that they're on the Fuh whenever that time of the month rolls around, and so do I. Christine (you can put my name in if you'd like). I think your site is awesome! Vital stats are as follows: I'm 18, female, and living in San Diego, CA, USA." (April 2002)
On the plane "My three-year-old son was in the bathroom for quite awhile one day. When I went in to check on him he had out my pads with wings and when asked what he was doing he said 'I'm playin' with these airplane stickers.' So now when I tell my husband I need some planes from the store he knows what to get." (November 2003.) In A Guide to Remembering Japanese Characters (Tuttle, 1988) Kenneth Henshall writes that the sound FU can have negative connotations across several languages, including English, Chinese and Japanese.
On the rag
One hundred and eighty eggs to go and counting!
see The banks of the Nile are overflowing and running red
The] Onion's euphemisms for menstruation (below)

Left: The Onion "newspaper"'s (27 November 2002) euphemisms for menstruation. (Chart borrowed from the Onion; I'll return it when done.)

Some are real, some probably bogus - those incurable joksters!

Read The Onion, a humor site.

The contributor writes, "OTR is what I always say. O=on, T=the, R=rag. A funny note: I dated a lawyer for two years and in legal briefs they abbreviate On The Record as OTR, so every time he saw that it would make him think of what I use it for and he'd crack up. By the way, I think your Web site is the greatest!!!! Keep up the wonderful work!!" (December 2001). See also Over the rainbow
Otter Season
see It's time to get my wife's oil changed; see also OTR
Our time
See My kitty ran away. (October 2001)
Out of commission
see N/A [not available] (October 2001)
Out of order "The 'terms of endearment' for the period have cracked me up. My husband says I'm 'out of order' and calls tampons 'rip cords,' but after reading some of the terms, I'll have to have some new phrases for it. CP, age 34, from suburban Atlanta, Georgia (U.S.A.); married, one child" (December 2005)
Out of practice see Lailah's kicking me
Over the rainbow
"When I was in my teens I knew a group of girls who referred to being 'Over The Rainbow,' as the initials O.T.R. applied to that phrase as well as the traditional 'On The Rag.' They used it mostly in mixed company, so they could be at least partially discreet in their conversation. ****, 62-year-old male, Cambria, CA" (August 2009)
Ovulatoes see Mr. Y'know
Package of trouble
Packin' dynamite see dynamite
Pad straddling sent by a New Yorker (January 2002)
Painful femininity see Drainage
Painters [as part of various phrases] "Mr. Finley, Hi, I'm 14, a girl (obviously) and in the Midwest. I remember that when I was in sixth or seventh grade, there was a book that listed a reference for periods as, 'having the painters come, how's the painting, did the painters come, etc.' I thought it was really funny, because eventually everyone, even the guys knew about it and would tease certain girls by asking them if the painters came. Well, thanks for you website, it's really interesting. Anonymous." (March 2005)
[The] painters are here "When I was in college in Moscow, Idaho, [U.S.A.] in the late 1970s, my dorm-mates and I always referred to our moontime as 'The painters are here.' Didn't see it on your list - but forwarded a link to your site to ALL my girlfriends, sisters, my Mom, my Grandma. It's great!" enthused the e-mailer. (March 2002) This expression also appears in other English-speaking countries (see below).
Paper see I feel blah (September 2001)
[Paragraph sign] "Love your site--sorry I missed the actual, physical museum [which closed in 1998; see pictures of it]. (I'm a fellow Marylander.) I mark the expected date of my period in my planner with a paragraph sign, which looks sort of like a backward 'P.' I will sometimes refer to my 'periodic' state as 'Pirates of the Caribbean is closed for repairs,' after my single long-ago visit to Disneyland, in which that ride was never open. I'm 44 and American. [And please don't use my name!]" (March 2005)
Passing a liver "When asked if a friend wanted to go swimming, she replied with, 'The Red River is flowing.' She also laughed and said, 'The Sharks are circling.' With cramps, I've heard the term 'passing a liver.'" (March 2005)
Paul Michael Smith "I am originally from New Jersey and back in high school my closest friend and I referred to our periods as 'Paul Michael Smith is staying at my house' when we were in front of other people. The Paul was for 'P,' the Michael was for 'M,' and the Smith was for 'S.' I will never forget that one." (December 2003)
Paul Revere's ride "The phrase 'Paul Revere's ride' is used as a euphemism for menstruation among my classmates at an all-girls school. This phrase materialized from Paul Revere's famous-yet-fictional cry of 'The British are coming!' - and the British being 'redcoats,' it was an obvious thing to use as a symbol," writes the contributor. She added, "For the record, this MUM site is one of the most interesting Web sites I've come across in a long time." (August 2001)
Paulette "I was just on your site and it is very interesting to see how many women from various cultures describe their periods as 'Auntie.' My best friend and I have always used this term, but in college, one of my floor-mates in the dorms called it 'Paulette' as in 'Paulette showed up today' or 'Paulette's here.' This caught on and in our circle expanded to 'Paulette's here throwing her luggage/ banging stuff around, etc.' to mean 'My period's here - with cramps.' Just thought I'd share. Great web museum. My friends and I are Black/African-American and that was about ten years ago in college." (May 2007)
Pencil see I feel blah (September 2001)
Period (one of the most common words) "I'm very boring and almost always use the word 'period'; occasionally I'll use 'menses' (though my boyfriend inexplicably had never heard this word before!) or 'menstruation,' but your site has inspired me to try to be more creative! I'm definitely going to make an effort to put some of these terms into use! I will say that my favorite expression, and the only one that I know that isn't represented on your list, is 'me bajo la regla' - I saw 'me bajo' on your list and 'la regla' listed under various Latin languages. 'Me bajo la regla' more or less translates to 'the rule came down,' I believe a reference to God cursing women to menstruate as a punishment to Eve. I think it's kind of cute and kind of funny - there's even a patron saint of 'la regla'! I only use it with my Spanish-speaking friends, though. For your information, I'm white, 30 and from the upper Midwest. Keep up the good work!! Jenn (you can use my name if you want) P.S. Someone had written in to your site suggesting that 'back in the saddle' and 'riding the cotton pony' (a favorite of a high-school friend of mine) are related phrases, but other than that they both refer to menstruation, they're really not. The former refers to archaic saddle-esque sanitary napkin belts (has anyone ever even seen one of those?? [Yes! Here.]) and the other refers to tampons." (March 2003)
Periodical "At our house, period turned to periodical turned to 'my magazine.' Interesting how the female minds in our family work! (And, of course, if you stated that you 'needed supplies' - no further discussion was necessary.)," writes the contributor from Iowa. (January 2002)
Periodic state see [Paragraph sign]
Phew! "I didn't see this one but then I may have missed it. That is quite an impressive collection! 'Red fairy' (my friend in England uses it). I always say 'phew' In other words, thank whomever that I am not pregnant. I have enough kids!" (December 2006)
[The] pip "My grandmother and several of my aunts from both sides of the family always called it 'The pip,' as in, 'Have you got the Pip?' I first heard this term about 1964 when I first started my period at age nine. Also, when you would get a bump or pimple on your butt, it was always called a 'Pipjenny.' I'm from southern Virginia and 48 years old, and haven't heard it called this anywhere else. Must have been a regional thing." (May 2002) Another woman reports this: see I'm being visited by my red headed aunt (June 2007).
July 2011: "HI, I googled 'Pip' after seeing it in mother's letters to my father written when he was in the Navy in WWII. I had never heard this expression and she of course did not use it when I started menstruating. I wasn't even sure if I had deciphered her handwriting correctly, and as she passed away last year at age 90, I can no longer ask her. So, I was happy that my google led me to your website where 'Pip' is referenced with the notation of Southern Virginia. My mother was from Central Virginia (Richmond) in fact. I think it is interesting that she used 'Pip' in the 1940's but by the 60's, she did not use it with me so not only was it regional, but it was of a certain era. If she had used it with me, I would have rolled my eyeballs and thought how uncool she was! I wonder if it is an acronym with one of the 'p's being 'period.'" [MUM reply: I looked it up and one meaning is as follows: (n.) One of the conventional figures or "spots" on playing cards, dominoes, etc. So it can be a spot - a period? This might be the origin.]
Pirates of the Caribbean is closed for repairs see [Paragraph sign]
[The] pixies have come see Having your pixies
Placebo effect the 22-year-old Midwestern college student who sent this writes, "This comes from the week of birth control pills that are placebo. When you take your placebo pills you start your period." (May 2001)
Please make sense "My personally coined phrase for PMS for my wife is: 'Please Make Sense.'" (April 2003) Plug the 22-year-old Midwestern college student who sent this (and Placebo effect, Comma and Red week) writes, "My mother refers to tampons as 'plugs' and before going grocery shopping for the week would ask if I was going to be needing plugs that week." People in the menstrual products industry use the words "catamenial plug" for tampon, and that term appears in technical literature. Of course, "plug" is what many non-tampon users feel tampons would do to their vaginas, which expresses a fear reaching back centuries. (May 2001)
Plug see Diaper
Plum pudding
"PLUM PUDDING is one my daughter and I use, just because it is so utterly vulgar, it's funny. RIDING THE BANANA is a phrase I use because it is descriptive of what it feels like to be wearing a pad. The more you think about it, the nastier it gets. Terrific and funny site! Thank you!" (November 2002)
[The] plumber is stopping by today see Waterfalls
[The] plumber is working on the leak see Waterfalls
[The] plumber needs a break see Waterfalls
Photons see Ammunition
Playing hockey "I was at a hockey game a while ago, and my brother was joking around and said of the goalie, after stopping a puck, 'Fastest pads in the west.' Me and my aunt started laughing, as 'pads' can really only mean one thing to women, a bit to my brother's confusion. Relating this to my best friend (21, I'm 13), we now sometimes use 'playing hockey' instead of 'on my period.' I just hope I can keep going to actual hockey games without laughing, now!" (October 2006)
Plumbing "That's what my boyfriend has called my period since 1992. If I am cranky, he asks if I have 'plumbing problems,' and if I mention 'plumbing issues,' he knows to steer clear of me for a few days. He comes from a family that has only sons, so I suppose that's why they use the hardware metaphor. I'm surprised I didn't notice it on your site," writes the contributor. (February 2002)
Poorly time (a)
Potential Murder Suspect "I'm 18 from the United States and my friends and I always refer to being on our period by saying I'm a Potential Murder Suspect playing on our irritability at the time." (September 2009)
Potty [nonmenstrual] "I have been enthralled by your site since midnight and it is nearly six in the morning. I'm sure you receive multiple e-mails each day from women (and hopefully other men!) who appreciate your open approach to a taboo subject, especially from a male. I suffer from endometriosis and it has taken my family years to accept it due to the nature of which my family deals with anything concerning reproductive or sexual health, organs, function, or other. It is strange since my grandmother was a nurse and my mother had five females out of her seven births. She refuses to discuss whether she has experienced menopause and also hid her menstruation from us. At 18, I have yet to receive 'the talk' from her or any form of sexual or menstrual education. We are still waiting. When I was 11, I had my period at my aunt's house (a nurse) who informed me that a man could now plant his seed in my body and impregnate me. How confusing! I couldn't figure out if I should be more proud of being a plant or a 'woman.' My sisters, the oldest being 29, and I are far more open with our cycles and sexuality than the previous generation. Our mother taught us that our organs, vulva, vagina, et al were called our 'potty' (which, incidentally, we also called our urine and our toilet). She cannot say clinical terms without whispering them (including breasts, vagina, clitoris, vulva or menstruation, period, et cetera). It amazes me that a woman who experienced eight pregnancies would not educate her daughters about their own menstruation. My sister has made sure to inform her children about the correct terms or age-appropriate answers for their parts or any other questions when they arise. Her son, however, has named her breasts 'mommy's apples' and her pubic hair 'mommy's tail.' Since he has not asked the 'correct' terms for these regions, she does not mind being referred to as an apple with a tail." The writer also contributed the words at Drainage. (October 2005)
Preparing for unborn children see Drainage
Punctual see Fighting the Scarlet Crusade
Punctuating, I'm "'I'm Punctuating': My ex used to refer to my period as my 'comma,' which grew in to me saying to him that I was punctuating. 'Moontime': Directly from the Jean Auel series of books; it gives a more positive spin on periods. 'Special, womanly time': A different ex: his very loving way of referring to my body. He also called my vagina/vulva a 'sweet honey maker'" (May 2003)
Push-ups "When my mom was in college in the 70s in Minnesota, her roommate used the term 'push-ups' for tampons. To me, it's reminiscent of orange sherbet popsicles, and a diplomatic way to make a supplies request. Love your site." (January 2007)
Pyramid "Hello. I have another word that I didn't see on the menstruation list. My sister and I have started calling it 'pyramid,' which sounds like period, but guys can't understand it. It actually started on a Mexico trip about 7 years ago, when my friends and i were visiting the pyramids. A few years later it came back to my memory, and we've been using it ever since. ****, Tampa, Florida" (June 2008)
Question mark or Exclamation point "Another form of punctuation used at the end of a sentence," e-mails the contributor. See Carrie. (October 2001)
[The] rabbit's hopping
the contributor writes, "A rather promiscuous roommate I once had (a 29-year-old Midwestern Caucasian) always said, 'the rabbit's hopping' when she got hers, the period being more reliable than a stick test. It's the opposite to the archaic term 'the rabbit died,' which was used to indicate pregnancy." (April 2001)
Ragdoll "'What a bloody mess!' 'Shark bait,''Chumming the waters,''Dying the beard red,' 'I'm a ragdoll.' Actually a friend of mine and I would sing the Aerosmith song 'Ragdoll,' except we would change the words:

feeling kind of moody!

bleeding from my booty!

never had cramps like THIS before!

Also, we worked in a large single room office and we'd call attention to any woman who might be on her period by loudly asking, 'Where are you going with your purse? Why are you taking your purse to the bathroom?'" (May 2008)
Raggin' see Bad week
Ragtime the contributor writes, "I'm an American woman, 44, living in Southern California since 1976. I worked in a factory in the late 1980s and one of the foremen, an unpleasant middle-aged white guy, would say 'It must be ragtime' whenever a female subordinate caused him grief. Thank God I didn't work for him!" (February 2001)
Rdme see Nixon (October 2002)
Reapply her lipstick/borrow lipstick see Red flag (July 2001)
Reasserting my femininity "Hello. I had a friend who referred to her period as 'reasserting her femininity,' which always struck me as hilarious. I currently live in Ohio, I'm originally from Michigan, the person who told me this was from Illinois, and we were both living in Texas at the time. I'm 38 years old, and if I could go back in time and give my 12-year-old self a hysterectomy in order to prevent all these years of bleeding out the hoo-ha, inconvenience, pain and mood swings, I would do it in a heartbeat. Oh, and my mother always just referred to it as 'that time.' I often refer to tampons as 'corks,' or say I need to 'stick a cork in it.'"
Received my monthly statement see Jenny has a red dress on
Red Badge of Courage "My friend who is 19 calls her period the 'Red Badge of Courage,' a reference to the American Civil War novel that was made into a movie in the fifties." (July 2010)
Red Bird of Bitchiness the contributor writes, "It was first used (so far as I know) by an ex-boyfriend of mine in high school. One afternoon he referred to it as the 'Red Bird of Bitchiness' (as opposed to the Blue Bird of Happiness). It made me laugh and I liked it so much I stuck with it. It can be used to announce PMS - 'The Red Bird has started migrating' (moving south/downwards indicating it's getting ready to leave the body); to announce the start of a period - 'The Red Bird has landed/is nesting'; or, on rare occasions that a period is late - 'The Red Bird's migration is delayed.' Some of my friends have started using this term also; unlike me, though, they use it because in public no one can tell what we are referring to." The writer grew up in a liberal household, but no one ever mentioned menstruation. (July 2002)
[The] Red dawn has arrived see Red dot of doom
Red dot of doom "I am not sure if you are still taking nicknames for periods, but what me and my friends called it when we were little was "The Red Dot of Doom" or 'The Red Dawn has Arrived.' We called it the 'Red Dot of Doom' when we were little because we were so terrified of getting it! As for 'The Red Dawn has Arrived' we used that when talking about it in school. Sincerely, ****, age 14 Ps. Love the menstrual cup dress (lol)" (May 2008)
Red Dot Special
the contributor writes, "In middle school and high school (in the early-to-mid 90s) my friends and I called our periods 'Red Dot Specials' or said "I'm on Red Dot Special," after the Stop and Shop marketing term meaning on sale. (Stop and Shop is an East-coast grocery store chain who's symbol is a big red dot). This term came about when we noticed one day that a product called PMS Tea, an herbal tea for PMS relief, was actually on Red Dot Special at Stop and Shop! We have referred to our periods that way ever since." (January 2001). Another contributor, who also contributed My Uncle Charlie is visiting, I am WOMAN! and Sorry, no sex, playground's muddy, writes, "My 15-year-old daughter refers to it as 'The red dot.'" (January 2001)
[The] red dragon see Syching up. Also: "I have one that I didn't see. My good friend who's a guy always refers to it as the 'red dragon.' Red as in blood and dragon as in the girl's temperament at that time." (April 2008)
Red flag "As a high-school student," writes the contributor, "my female friends and I would always check each other for 'red flags,' unexpected leaking, and so having our period became known as having a 'red flag.' If someone direly needed to change her tampon or borrow a tampon from someone, she would say she needed to 'reapply her lipstick' or 'borrow lipstick.' Now, as a college student, I refer to an Ani DeFranco song called 'Blood in the Boardroom' (where she is actually thankful to have period) and say 'I can make life, I can make breath.' For as long as I can remember I have have called my period (when accompanied by killer cramps) "my ovaries are eating my intestines.'" (July 2001)
Red flow of misery From an e-mail to the Would you stop menstruating if you could? page (November 2005)
Red letter day "My mother and I refer to the onset as 'red letter day.' This I imagine was her way of marking the calendar (for future reference) without actually having to write something too revealing," writes the contributor. (July 2001) See also comments about this expression at Synching up.
RED LIGHT! "I briefly dated a truckdriver from Atlanta, Georgia [U.S.A.]. He would come visit me in New York City whenever he was in town and we would usually get romantic. Well, one time he came to visit and I had to explain to him that I was on my period. He shot up his hand in a stop gesture and exclaimed loudly (with his deep southern twang) 'RED LIGHT!' From that day on, my girlfriends and I always yell out 'RAYED LIGHT!' whenever we want to let the other know we are on our periods. But the term most of us used before that was simply, 'I'm bleeding.' **** (34, New York City)" (May 2004)
Red menace "I can't believe no one submitted the term, 'Red Menace.' " (August 2010)
Red Moon is rising see Closed for business
Red red krovvy see In the house of the Moon
[The] Red River is flowing see Passing a liver
Red Rum. Red Rum. see Red rose in the England section, below.
[The] Red Sea is open a minister of the religious kind contributed this, writing, "When I was away at college way back in the 1960s, my girlfriend would, on occasion, comfort my anxieties after our once-a-month weekend visit by telling me that the 'Red Sea is open' during our long-distance telephone conversations. This Biblical reference had nothing to do with my choice of vocations, I assure you." (April 2001)
[The] Red sled slide see Earning your red wings
[The] Red Sox are in town "My sister and I say that 'the Red Sox are in town.' We have used this phrase for decades and it works for us! Lol ["laugh out loud"]," writes a woman from Pennsylvania (U.S.A.). The Red Sox is a baseball team from Boston (U.S.A.) (March 2001)
Red storm rising see Gruesome week
[The] red tent see Kill the babies
Red tide (a)
Red week from the 22-year-old Midwestern college student who sent "Placebo effect." (May 2001)
Red wings see Earning your red wings
[The] redcoats have landed "When I was growing up as a teenager in New Haven, Connecticut, during the 1960s, a very common term was 'the redcoats have landed' to describe the arrival of one's period. Redcoats is a nice pun, since it also refers to a kind of battle! I notice that you have the expression in the French section of your glossery. New Haven, however, was never characterized by an enormous French population. I have enjoyed your Web site for years!" Redcoats were the British troops whom the American colonists fought in their war for independence, and the writer lives in one of the former American colonies. (September 2003)
Regular "When I was in Junior and Senior High School in the Midwest in the late 1950s and 1960s, our P.E. teachers would take roll at the beginning of each class.  If you were menstruating, you answered 'regular' rather than 'here'.  That meant you didn't have to take a shower at the end of class. Your site is fantastic.  Thanks for all the work you have done." (May 2012)
Reign of the Thin White Duke "'Reign of the Thin White Duke' was a term I made up with my high school girlfriends in suburban Maryland in the mid-seventies. The Thin White Duke was David Bowie's persona circa his 'Station to Station' era and slang for a tampon. We felt arty saying it and Bowie was good listening on or off a period. It was intended to be code, so I don't think any of our guy friends knew what it meant. Love your site!" (October 2003)
Reindeer are stomping on the roof See Santa's bringing the presents
Reinforcements the contributor writes, "When I run out of pads I say I need to get reinforcements - it sure feels as if I'm fighting a battle. I also remember my sister calling period 'Old Man River' - can't you just hear that song?" The writer referred to her husband as her "ragtime pal."(June 2001)
Reservations see Aunt Flo sent someone else in her place
Riblets "I don't know if you are still adding other names for menstruation, but my best friend and I always use the term Riblets. It spawned from a Dane Cook joke about getting a call from a girl you think you may have impregnated and finding out she got her period. When she does so you're so happy that you shout 'Riblets on me! Applebees!' So from then on, she and I refer to getting our periods as Riblets, as we take it as a sign we are not pregnant. I am 18 and from southeast USA." (October 2009)
Riding the banana see Plum pudding
Riding the cotton pony spoken by comedian George Carlin and separately contributed by an e-mailer in February 2002. "Bidet" also meant pony in the French of hundreds of years ago, for a similar reason. See a comment on the expression under Period. In 2004 an e-mailer wrote, "A high school girlfriend used to refer to a visitation of her 'friend' as 'riding the cotton pony,' Cheers, ****, Sunnyvale, California"
Riding the cotton stallion see The joy of womanhood
Riding the cotton toboggan "Riding the cotton toboggan is what my friends always called it :)" (October 2004)
Riding the crimson towel "Hi there, My husband coined this one as part of a humorous haiku, and I love it! I think it's poetic and especially apropos considering so many women are returning to using cloth pads as alternatives to bleached commercial products. 'Riding the crimson towel.' I laughed my head off the first time I heard it, but use it all the time now! Thanks for the great site, **** Vancouver, BC, Canada (formerly from Seattle, where the phrase was born) (August 2003)
Riding the cycle
Riding the rag
see FHP
Riding the red ball special
submitted by an American man
Riding the red highway see Jenny has a red dress on
Riding the red pony see FHP
Riding the red tide (a) "Red tide" is also a microbiotic affliction that kills fish and people in the U.S.A.
Riding the white horse "I'm 54 and my friends and I used to call it 'riding the white horse.' I see you have 'riding the cotton pony' but when we were skinny little girls wearing the only pads available, which were enormous and must have been sticking out a foot or two in front and back, we're talking horses, NOT ponies." **** Cedar Rapids, Iowa (January 2004)
Riding the white rat "I have no dates or origin for this expression - it's just the one I use all the time: 'Riding the white rat,'" mails the contributor. (February 2002)
Rip cords see Out of order
Rocket the contributor writes, "One word I remember in middle and high school (mid-to-late 1980s) was the term 'rocket' being used for a tampon." See also That time. (April 2001)
Rosie Red "I can't believe no one has sent in 'Rosie Red' [to Words and expressions about menstruation]. In junior high [on Long Island, New York] all the girls would complain of a 'visit from Rosie Red' in the locker room and it was used to get out of gym class, often whether 'Rosie Red' was visiting or not! This was in the late 60s, early 70s. In college, before they recognized and acknowledged the symptoms of PMS, I used to tell my roommate that 'the Monster is coming.' I didn't keep track of my cycles at all and didn't even really make the connection until the first articles on PMS came out -- and I received newspaper clippings of them from several different people saying 'Hey, this is you!' I also like 'spending a week at the Bates Motel' which my sister understood immediately, both for its reference to becoming 'Psycho' and the implication of blood everywhere." (May 2006)
Rusty beaver "I didn't see 'rusty beaver' in your list. A trucker's term." [Beaver is an American synonym for a woman's genitals.] (July 2005)
St. Menses
see It's the blood of St. Menses
Sally "Hello!! Just stumbled ... on your website, after being curious about the history of Feminine Hygiene Products. I'm a 48yr old female, who decides to look this up after never hearing of the Cup. 3/4 of my life I have referred to my 'period' as: SALLY. Robert Palmer did a song called 'Sneaking Sally through the alley' and because I see the letter 'S' in red, I thought it was a perfect match. (Seeing letters & numbers in certain colors like:  D & 5 are brown, I & J are yellow, etc.. is something off subject for MUM, but solidified the 'S' for my period's name). Anyway, there you have it: Sally. Regards, *****" (December 2012)
Sambo Adams "When I was in 5th grade, we referred to periods as Sambo Adams. I don't know who thought this up or why." (June 2008)
Sandbag see Due for the sweatlodge
Sanitary comfort the name used for sanitary napkin in the February 1907 issue of Pictorial Review. Read more. (August 2002)
Sanitary napkin rings see Girl stuff
Santa Claus "I'm from Ohio and when I was in junior high in the early 70's, my friends referred to it as 'Santa Claus' (is coming to town, and the obvious red and white aspect)." (January 2003)
Santa's bringing the presents "A girl friend of mine and I call it the time when 'Santa's bringing the presents.' She also jokingly said once that cramps occur when the 'reindeer are stomping on the roof,'" writes the contributor. (July 2002)
Satan's little cotton fingers see I'm on auto-drip
[The] Scarlet 7 "I am 30 and I live in the southern United States. I had a boyfriend once who called it 'The Scarlet 7.'" (September 2002)
Scarlet Fever "Upon reading your site I came across names for menstruation. One I didn't notice was 'Scarlet Fever,' a joke between me and a friend based on an old old show about medieval warriors. Upon finding out the only female character was on her monthly, the main character asked her 'Are you crazy? Fighting while you have Scarlet fever?!' it was a very interesting play on words, considering for the time the show was done in people thought of periods as a disease or an illness or a wound. I find it to be a fun little phrase that causes a lot of confusion to people who think you're referring to the actual illness and not the monthly gift. Lindsey, USA" (August 2012)
Scarlet Onslaught see Fighting the Scarlet Crusade
Scheduled "I read about a woman who said she was 'scheduled' in a few days. I am presuming that's what it refers to." (June 2002)
Scott "In high school, when we were having our period we would say, 'Scott's visiting.' At the time, a slang term for your period was being 'on the rag.' As our town in Missouri was known for the Scott Joplin Rag Time Festival, it was only natural that the term 'the rag' was associated with Scott Joplin. Ha! The funniest story was when our girls basketball team was traveling and everyone was talking about being visited by 'Scott.' The male coach declared, 'I'd like to meet this guy Scott . . . he sure gets around!' We giggled about our bewildered coach the rest of the trip! From U.S.A." (November 2005)
Scourge of Eve "Hello, Being a theologically minded person, the term I generally use to refer to 'that time of the month' is the 'scourge of Eve'; i.e. 'I feel awful, the scourge of Eve is upon me.' It is, I think, fairly discreet and general enough that it won't offend or frighten my (likewise-theologically minded) guy friends; some of them, I think, use it without knowing what it means. Then I laugh at them. But those who use it understanding what it means don't seem to have a problem using it. Also I've noticed that it seems to be tabooish among Americans for young men to say 'Pre-Menstrual Syndrome,' but 'PMS' is perfectly acceptable. There does not seem to be this taboo with my friends (male and female) in the UK at least. Thanks, ****, an American (please don't list my name)" (April 2005)
Seat belts see Driving in a red car
Self-cleaning "At the tail end of my period, when there is no longer much blood, but you still need a lightday [pad], I call it 'self-cleaning,' like the cycle on an oven. It gets all the gunk out and then I'm nice and clean again!" (September 2001)
[The] server is down "It Was Inevitable: My sister Lisa, who is a webmeistress and extreme geek (which also applies to me) living in Portland, Oregon (U.S.) (I live in Michigan) began using the phrase 'the server is down' a few years ago to describe menstruation. This affords her a way to nerdily but discreetly inform her husband of her status. Now that I am dating a programmer myself, I have been compelled to started using the phrase, too." (May 2004)
Serviette Common 19th-early 20th century name for menstrual pads, from the French for napkin. See here, for eample.
Shark week "In 2003 I heard this on the radio in the U.S. a radio show was asking callers for amusing terms for menstruation, and a male caller said this was what he and his wife always called it. The origin: he and his wife were watching 'Shark Week' on the Discovery Channel, fascinated as scientists used bloody meat to attract various kinds of shark. During a commercial break his wife used the restroom, and forgot to flush her used tampon. He then saw it, was reminded of the chub used to attract sharks, and asked her what species of shark she was hoping to attract. I don't know if anyone else uses this term, but I do now." (January 2004) A later e-mailer writes, "My favorite expression for menstruation is Shark Week. Blood in the water. I first heard it on a livejournal community called tmi_chix.  I know it comes from Discovery channel but I don't know who first coined it for use as an euphemism for menstruation. I do like it better than Aunt Flo, or surfing the crimson wave, or any of the others I've heard or used in the past. It more accurately describes how vicious an attack of menses can be for some women.  :)" (November 2006)
[The] Sharks are circling see Passing a liver
She has her red-headed stepsister "I grew up in the southern part of the U.S.A. and the terms I heard regarding women's periods are: "She is on the rag" or "She has her red-headed stepsister." (October 2006)
Sheep "About 20 years ago, after hearing the joke about what elephants use for tampons (sheep) [it's somewhere deep on this page], my husband and I began calling tampons sheep. This led to using the word 'sheepish' for having my period. When my husband made me a cute little wooden box [see a Swedish tampon box] to store my tampons in, he glued a small ceramic sheep to the top for a handle, and we call this the sheep box. These days it holds Q-tips (cotton swabs) which fit perfectly. We still call it the sheep box which one may think very strange unless you know the history and the joke! If you are asking for demographics, I'm 48 from the northeastern U.S." (July 2007)
Shoots "Our bar screens are littered with 'shoots' as the boys call the tampon applicators, not to mention pads and wrappers that get flushed." From a mail to Would you stop menstruating if you could? in October 2009.
Sick at each month (see usage in an American patent medicine booklet from the decade before 1920)
Signor Rossi "From an Italian-American girl in Indianapolis, Indiana: 'Signor Rossi -- Italian for 'Mister Red'" (January 2011)
Slinging the buckskin "Love your site and I plan to recommend it to my 18-year-old daughter. I found a link at the TECH-TV show UNSCREWED site! I am an over-fifty, white, Southern American male. I think I was told of this expression for menstruation by a close male friend who is a native American Winnebago Indian. I am not positive where I got it from; it was at least twenty years ago. Because of the material used by the Indian women, their monthlies became know as 'slinging the buckskin.' Hope you can use it. Keep up the good work." (July 2003)
Sluicing See Clyde, above. (April 2001)
Smoking a White Owl see Having your pixies
Soldiers see Dropping an egg
Someone is scraping a melon baller across the walls of my uterus see Synching up
Somebody's visiting (a)
Sorry, I'm taking Carrie to the prom see The banks of the Nile are overflowing and running red
Sorry, no kitty for you see I'm gushin'
Sorry, no sex, playground's muddy "Back in the early 1970s, when my sister had first married and I was in high school, I heard my sister refer to 'sorry, no sex, playground's muddy,' which I thought was pretty funny and descriptive!" writes the contributor who also sent in My Uncle Charlie is visiting, I am WOMAN! and The red dot. (January 2001)
Special, womanly time see Punctuating, I'm
Spending a week at the Bates Motel see Rosie Red
Splooge see Mookie time
Stemming the cotton pony "My friend says his GF [girlfriend] is 'stemming the cotton pony.' Stemming is vulgar for intercourse and is a variation of 'riding the cotton pony' that emphasizes insertion. It's a Connecticut [state in the U.S.A.] thing," writes the contributor. (August 2002)
Stick a cork in it see Reasserting my femininity
[The, My] storm is coming [has arrived] "Hello, I was suprised not to see this one: My supervisor and I like to say 'The storm is coming' or 'The storm has arrived.' Or sometimes to be more specific I'll say 'My storm is coming.' Thanks for the site, it's really cool." (August 2003)
Strings attached "This refers to the little string that hangs down from a tampon, but also to the fact that it's not a good time for intercourse, as in 'not tonight, I've got strings attached,'" e-mails the contributor. (July 2002)
Stuck pig see Girl stuff
Stupid Bob "My friends and I call it 'Stupid Bob.' It began among those of us who were pro wrestling fans. One of them really hated a certain wrestler, whose name was Bob, and said that the only thing stupider and more annoying than him was your period. The name stuck, and has spread to friends of mine who aren't fans of wrestling." (July 2004)
Supplies see Closed for maintenance
Surfboard see That time
Surfing see the Australian entry for the word
Suffering from the hairy hatchet wound "Well, this is an expression that I don't care for, but in the name of research submit: 'suffering from the hairy hatchet wound.' I grew up an Army brat and don't remember where I heard it." (March 2003)
Supplies see Cigar
Surfing the crimson wave used mainly by American teenage and college-aged females, says the contributor. Also used in the American movie "Clueless."
Surfing the crimson tide see the entry right above. Also, the University of Alabama football team adopted the nickname "crimson tide," maybe to scare its opponents.
Sweet honey maker see Punctuating, I'm
Swimming up red river see That time
Synching up "With reference to the way women in close contact can have their menstrual cycles synchronize, one's period was always referred to as 'synching up' or 'being in synch' on my middle- and high-school athletic teams. After two or so months of playing together we'd all be getting our periods at exactly the same time. If the coach wanted to know why we were playing sluggishly that day, we'd say, 'Oh, we're in synch today,' and everything would be understood. I've heard other female athletes use this term as well. I also once knew a pair of roommates who referred to their period as 'the red dragon.' I don't know if they made this up or if it was a reference to something, but I always rather liked the connotations of power and mystique. And it's not quite about menstruation, but by far the most descriptive phrase for menstrual cramps I ever heard was, 'Someone is scraping a melon baller across the walls of my uterus.' If you've ever had cramps and ever made a fruit salad, you know *exactly* what this means. All of these phrases come from New England, where I'm a 19-year-old female college student. This is a Web site we were directed to visit by our professor for a class in human sexuality [meaning this MUM site]. It's marvelous! P.S. Regarding the entry for the euphemism 'red-letter day,' you might want to add that that's a pun on the expression 'red-letter day' meaning a day of great significance or celebration, I think from the fact that biblical holy days used to be marked with red ink instead of black on standard calendars. Not everyone on my hall was familiar with the phrase. :o)" (January 2003)
see I have a mouse in
Taking classes at 'Bama "Referring to the University of Alabama and its mascot, the crimson tide." (May 2004)
Tammy time "Tammy Time - referring to tampons, obviously. USA, Atlanta, Georgia" June 2007
Tamp-in See Man-hole cover (February 2002)
Tampax Many American women call any tampon Tampax. Tampax might have have been the first commercial menstrual tampon and was the biggest seller for most of its history.
Tampon an American genealogy researcher e-mailed me in September, 2006, sent scans of early American tampons and wrote this: "The earliest use of the word tampon in historical newspapers that I can find is dozens from 1917 -1918 referring to churches and other groups making bandages for the war and one type of bandage is tampons [for inserting into wounds]. Another reference in Lima, Ohio, 1922, refers to putting tampons into your nose for a cold and then burning them because it is more sanitary than handkerchiefs. In The Chronicle Telegram, Elyria, Ohio, October 15, 1925, there's an article about the death of a child that refers to her nose bleeding and the doctor saying the tampon in her nose needed to be changed often. Throughout the 1920s there are references to tampons used in the nose along with medication put on the tampon first to cure the common cold. A 1932 Illinois article praising the benefits of gelatin to stop hemorrhages recommended compresses or tampons dipped in gelatin and applied to the bleeding areas. A 1935 Ohio article refers to douching and using medicated tampons to deal with infection caused by childbirth, the first reference indicating use in the vagina (though not using the word) in a public paper. After satisfying myself that the public used and knew the word tampon, I then searched for the earliest ads I could find for tampons in newspapers (before 1940 only) and those newspaper images are attached. The earliest I could find was 1935 Fibs, and then August 1936, TUX followed by Oct. 1936 Tampax. I realize that doesn't prove which was first but thought it could be helpful in dating, plus I found the TUX brand that you haven't mentioned on the Web site that was very early. I also included ads for B-ettes, fax, and Wix." See also the definition from a 1900 nurses' dictionary in the U.K.
Tampoon "My very liberated father has always refered to my mother's or my menstrual products as 'tampoons' which is a hybrid of tampon and harpoon. At twelve this mortified me." (November 2002)
Tears of a disappointed uterus "The great Canadian-American physician Sir William Osler (1849-1919) once referred to the menstrual flow as '... the tears of a disappointed uterus.' I guess the sole purpose of a uterus is to produce a full term baby, and menstruation shows a failure to make her goal. (" (May 2007)
[The] Tectonic plates shifted "My name is *** and Im 17, and my term comes from a little incident that happened to me my junior year of high school. I was in class and on my period. I went to the bathroom to change my pad and I discovered that I the pad had moved a bit and blood was all over my panties and on my pants. My mother picked me up of course and grinning at me said, 'So, the tectonic plates shifted, ay?' Ever since then, that's what we have used to address our periods." (January 2003)
Temporarily out of service "I've generally referred to it as 'temporarily out of service.' In 'The Muppet Movie' Fozzie and Kermit fall asleep in the church where the Electric Mayhem are practicing, and Dr. Teeth says, 'It looks like the bear and the frog are temporarily out of service,'" writes the contributor. (September 2002)
Terms see Courses
Tetherball "My friends and I say 'tetherball.' One of my friends started this when she had terrible cramps and complained that it felt like someone was playing tetherball with her uterus. It stuck, and now we have developed a complex code language. 'Someone is playing tetherball with me' means that you have cramps. 'I'm playing tetherball' means that you're on your period. 'A tetherball' means a pad and 'a tetherball with a string'means a tampon, officially, but we all use tampons so we just say 'a tetherball' to mean tampon. It works perfectly and the guys have no idea what we're talking about! One of my friends and I get our periods at the same time, so we say that 'we play tetherball together.' We're 8th graders (age range 13-15) and I found this website while I was looking up period euphemisms to send to my friends. *Please don't use my email address or name! Thank you!* (February 2009)
Thank God "In college, we used to call it our 'Thank God,' as in 'Thank God, I got my period.' At the time we weren't the best about keeping up with our birth control, so the only way we knew we weren't pregnant was when we got our period. You could hear us in the bathroom saying 'Thank God.' Eventually we shortened it to 'I got my Thank God.'" (July 2002)
Thank god/the gods! The pills/condoms/diaphragm/etc. worked [again]! see Moon's blood
That day Part of the title of the Kotex booklet "That day is here again . . . ," 1944.
The first day of "I hate men week." "For me, the first day is always 'the first day of 'I hate men week.'" The first day is always pain and it's just unfair that they don't have anything similar to go through." (May 2006)
That fun time of the month ironically, from a DepoProvera user, which stops most periods
That line is busy. Please try again later See I'm not pregnant (February 2002)
That thing a Brazilian woman e-mailing me in English called it this; she did not like menstruating and had stopped it with birth-control pills. (January 2003)
That thing with the lady parts see Moon's blood
That time "Hey there! I am a woman living in Southern California, and I didn't see a common phrase that I use with my husband when it is 'That time.' If he is thinking about gettin 'frisky,' I just tell him, 'Well, you'll be swimming up red river if you do,' and he gets the message loud and clear. I remember my friends in school also calling tampons 'rockets' and pads 'surfboards.' Your site is a real kick! Thanks for the laughs!" (July 2003) Another woman writes in April 2005 that she too uses this; see Reasserting my femininity. And the contributor of Rosie Red used it in her e-mail contribution to Would you stop menstruating if you could? in May 2006.
That time of the month the American weekly magazine Science News used an abbreviated version of this in a headline for an article about heart attacks occurring more often in the low-estrogen phase of the menstrual cycle: "It's that time . . . for heart attacks?" (December 2, 2000; Vol. 158, p. 366) See also It's that time of the month.
The lady parts problem see Moon's blood
The red flag is up
The flowers a term going back hundreds of years, apparently originally a brewing term; it's used also in German; see below
The misery (a)
The moon (a)
The nuisance (a)
The pink elephants have come "I enjoy your site very much, and appreciate how you have treated this very serious subject with an appropriate mixture of science and humor that combine well. I was reading the page about euphemisms for menstruation, and have one that does not appear on your list. When I was in high school in the late 1980s, my friend and I (both of whom suffered from severe cramps, sometimes so bad that we would have to go home) described those days as 'the pink elephants have come' since we felt like they were stomping on our midsections. On especially bad days, the pink elephants would be joined by little men carrying red flags. I haven't used these expressions since high school, but some of the things on your page brought back those memories. If you're collecting the data, I'm writing from South Florida, and am 31 years old. Thank you for a wonderful site, and please give the museum cats some scratching on the neck from me." (March 2003)
The reds are in (a)
The plague (a)
The red-letter day
The reds
The topiary garden's flooded the 29-year-old white Midwesterner writes, "Topiary garden being a satirical name from my college years in response to all the trimming, shaping, and waxing done on a Friday evening before going to the bar. I think the flooded part is self-explanatory." (April 2001)
The visitations (a)
The wound of Eve that never heals "I was reading a book where they called it 'The wound of Eve that never heals.' I thought that was a cute description, although not extremely discreet," writes the contributor. (January 2002)
There are strings attached see I'm suffocating little white mice
There's a red tide in Clam Harbour see The banks of the Nile are overflowing and running red
There's a volcano in the cradle of civilization see The banks of the Nile are overflowing and running red
There's a war in Virginia submitted by a college student in the Midwest as used by a friend. (April 2002)
There's blood on the saddle see The banks of the Nile are overflowing and running red
Those see Courses
Those days in the text of an ad for Exquisite Form Double Feature Garter belt (21 February 1955 - here). Also in Growing Up and Liking It (1949)
(The) Tide
"I still bleed for 7-8 days and that first day is always the Tide but as long as I have it I will love it and cherish it." From a letter to "Would you stop menstruating if you could?" (November 2002)
[The] tide has rolled in see Devil days
Tide's in
Tide's out (a)
Time to ram a tam "When I was in college in New Jersey nearly 40 years ago I had a girl friend who belonged to a sorority. Many of the girls used the expression 'time to ram a tam' to denote when it was time to either insert a tampon because they just got their period or because they'd had their period for a time and it was time to change their tampon." (November 2004)
Took, tooking "My friend Becky and I call tampons 'tooks.' She and her cousin made that term up just so they could have a secret term to refer them by. If I'm ragging it I'll ask her if I can have a took, and vice versa. So we now call being on our periods 'tooking.' Sometimes we just say 'I started' or we'll ask if the other has started, or we'll ask if the other needs a took. We're both in college, btw [by the way]." (April 2003)
Tool time see Dropping an egg
Tom "Me and my friends (boys and girls) say 'Tom' - like the name Tom. Meaning 'Time of Month.' It's cool cuz the boys know what were talkin' about. Age 16, Boston, Mass." (May 2002)
Too much sauce on the fish taco "My friend came up with this years ago, and it's totally gross, but I think it's accurate as well." (January 2003)
Too wet to plow (a)
Torpedoes "I came across your Web site and find it very informative and amazing! My husband likes to refer to tampons as torpedos. I didn't see that one listed so I thought I was share. **** age 29, Georgia" (September 2004)
[My] transmission leak "My boyfriend and I called it 'MyÝtransmission leak' cause he was a mechanic and tranny fluid is red :) Ý Bec" (February 2011)
Trolling for vampires "My sister heard this used by a male radio talk show host. We've been using it since, sometimes just saying 'trolling' (around people who know what we're talking about)." (January 2003)
[A] Trying physical condition Words in an ad for Hickory menstrual pad belts, 1926 (December 2010)
Tying on the rag "My mother from Philadelphia used the phrase explaining that rags were placed in panties before pads were invented." (October 2010)
Ugly sister
"My Husband calls my period 'Ugly Sister.' And Tampons/pads are called her 'Baggage or luggage.' Referring to how ugly my mood gets during that time. Calling my mood the ugly side of me. He says, 'Is your Ugly Sister Here?' or when it has been 5-6 days he will say, 'Hasn't your Ugly Sister left yet?' Or 'When is your Ugly Sister going to leave? I want my wife back!' When I need supplies I say, 'I'm Going to pick up sissy's baggage/luggage at the airport.' Or I will ask my Daughter if I need to go to the airport to pick up any 'Luggage' for her. I now use these terms with my 11 yr old daughter when we are around other people and need to talk in code. Love your site it is fun to look at all the diff names we call it. I am 38 and live in Portland Oregon." (October 2009)
Unable to swim see Cup week
Uncle Bloody "Used by my friends and me in Michigan. Most people who speak English get the point of this one since aunt seems to be a common term in menstruation talk anyway," writes the contributor of Girls' time. (August 2001)
Uncle Red see Cousin Cramps
Under the weather (a)
Unwanted guest "Now I know some scientific people are going to say menstruation is important for the female body, but hey, if it's a pain every month for the 'unwanted guest' to arrive then what's the point?" From a letter to "Would you stop menstruating if you could?" on this site. (November 2002)
Unwell, being the contributor e-mailed (September 2000), "When I was a teenager in Queens, New York, in the 1960s, we sometimes referred to having a period (menstruating) as 'being unwell.'  "We" were mostly white, working-class girls going to a public school.' " [Germans say something similar: "unwohl sein."]  And also in the Kotex booklet for girls "As one Girl to Another" (1943).
Uterine Jihad
"It's a euphemism for menstruation, particularly one with bad cramps. I don't know the origin, but I've seen if floating around a few message boards for a couple of years now." (October 2008)
Visit from the Cardinal (from the woman who submitted "closed for maintenance," above) (November 2000)
Visit of the French lady, the the e-mailer who contributed this (November 2000) wrote, "I read an interesting chapter in the book Aristocrats by Stella Tilyard; it seems to fit with your information about women in the past having less periods. They had a wonderful euphemism for it: "the visit of the French lady."
[A] volcano in my uterus see My uterus is on fire
Walking along the beach in soft focus "Just a contribution from my neck of the woods. An ex-girlfriend of mine used to refer to it as 'Walking along the beach in soft focus.' This, I believe, is an allusion to the ads for all hygiene products that show a woman running through a field, or across a beach, in a flowing white dress, and generally looking as little like a woman in the depths of deep muscle cramping as possible." See also this entry under Onion, above. (May 2004)
[The] walls of my uterus are shedding and it hurts "My friend Heather and I used to work at a retirement home and whenever we would have our period we would walk up to each other and say, 'Hi. My name is Heather and the walls of my uterus are shedding and it hurts,' writes the contributor. (August 2002)
Water of life see In the house of the Moon
Waterfalls "When I was in middle school we called it 'waterfalls' or 'chasing waterfalls' or 'human waterfall.' It was also during the same time TLC released their song 'Waterfalls' so I think that's how it started. Now that I am in college, I tend to say terms associated with a leaky faucet such as 'the plumber is stopping by today.' As my period decreases in flow it's called a 'leaky faucet' and then a 'drippy faucet.' When I use a tampon I say 'the plumber is working on the leak,' so when I have to change my tampon I say 'the plumber needs a break.'" (May 2003)
[The] week of the devil see Devil Days
Weeping womb (a)
We don't know who our fourth roommate is "I am in college and moving into an apartment with two other girls, and we'll have a random roommate for our fourth as we must have four. Two of my roommates were always worried they was pregnant, and we joked about how our fourth room would have to be a baby room with the roommate being one of their babies. While having lunch with many adults who didn't know she was having sex, one of my roomies subtlely laid down our fears and showed her excitement at having her period by mentioning that we didn't know who the fourth roommate was going to be after all." Norman, Oklahoma, U.S.A. (April 2004)
Welcome mat see Aunt Flo sent someone else in her place
Well, your little plan failed this month see I'm rejoicing in my womanhood
Wing-Wang "If you are still accepting submissions for menstruating euphemisms (!), I usually say that I'm on my 'wing-wang.' It's just pure silliness other than the fact that it is a twist on the way men name their penises. It throws people off; know one knows what I'm talking about until I explain, and I love it because no one else says it. Now my sisters and friends know exactly what I'm talking about when I say this. **** Oakland, CA" (August 2010)
With Moses "Back in high school, in my Christian Youth Group, the girls made up a Biblical reference to their periods. They would refer to a girl in menses as being 'with Moses.' Obviously, they did this so us guys wouldn't overhear them talking about personal matters. But one day I inadvertently cracked the code. I was sitting around talking with two female friends, and one said to the other, 'I'm with Moses now and it's such a pain,' to which I innocently replied, 'I don't get it. What's so painful about parting the Red Sea?' The RED Sea. I immediately realized what they were talking about, and they made me swear never to tell any of the other guys in our youth group what their code meant. I guess the secret is out now. -M-, 27, Las Vegas, Nevada." (October 2002)
White cylinder week (a)
White undies are out this time of month see I'm on auto-drip
Why Sally can't swim "It refers to the filmstrip that the 6th grade girls had to watch in the cafeteria. The nurse covered the windows with newspaper so the boys couldn't look in. We had to bring our mothers. The nurse showed a filmstrip that showed all the kids in the pool, except for Sally - she had her period. Then they passed around sanitary napkins and the horrible belts. Our moms had to show us how to use them. All I could think of was how some day I wouldn't be able to swim and that was really bad because I had a pool in my backyard." (March 2004)
Woman things see Bad week
Womenstruation see Bleeding out my vagina
World War III "World War III [WW III] MY New boyfriend was used to having sex while a female was on her period, and i was not. He was initiating having sex and i was trying to think of a way to tell him i was on my period. Eventually i JUST told him and he said SO... it was the heaviest day of my flow so i blurted out 'if we have sex it's gonna look like World War III.' That eventually became our code word. Ex: do u really want to witness WW III? IT'S LOOKIN LIKE WW III DOWN THERE! FEMALE. 22. AMERICA" (June 2010)
Would you look at the calendar? see Kill the babies
Wounded "You left out 'wounded.' It is decidedly American. Cheers," (January 2007)
Wrong time of the month
[Well,] your little plan failed this month
see I'm rejoicing in my womanhood
You're not a dad a woman born in South Dakota and now living in San Francisco tells this to her husband when she has her period. She said her sister says Grandma's here. (told to me in person March 2015)
Your vagina is emo! "A male friend of mine and I were chatting online about my love life. It had been a long time since I had had sex at that point, and I mentioned that I was on my period. My friend exclaimed, 'Your vagina is emo! It's so desperate for attention, it's bleeding!' In our generation, the term 'emo' usually stands for 'emotional' and is often (stereotypically) used when describing those who seek attention; one method to seek attention is to cut one's wrists (though there are cutters who do it and are not trying to seek attention as well). So, in his mind, my girly parts wanted attention so badly that they resorted to bleeding to seek attention. I still like to use this term often, since most people haven't heard it from other sources. I don't think it has caught on, but it's a catchy phrase for today's youth! By the way, I'm 22 right now, but I got my first period when I was 10. I found the museum's page through a link in a flickr group about menstruation. And yes, my vagina is emo as we speak, hehe. Thanks so much, **** (February 2009)

Latino American

En periodo see Jenny has a red dress on
Is it messy? "As a woman who studies female sexuality in relation to the Roman Catholic Church and Mexican-American women I just loved your site. I thought I would submit another 'word or expression' that I didn't see mentioned. Whenever my boyfriend and I get frisky and it's that time of the month we generally ask/say 'Is it messy?' 'It's going to be messy.'" (See also the listings under America, above) (November 2004)
It's going to be messy see Is it messy?

An e-mail follows (July 2005) with dozens - hundreds? - of American expressions. It'll take a while to put them in the regular section - I started to! - but I didn't want to deprive you now of the experience.

I had my first period at ten. I'm fifty now; do the math. At this point, the euphemisms have their own euphemisms. Both friends and family were well-read and fond of puns and word play. I also went to an all-girl school for three years. Our ability to share freely was equaled by our fear of talking about the subject in front of males.  I'll try not to repeat what is already on the site (It's marvelous, by the way!).

My mom used to buy the super pads. It was like walking with the Sunday edition of the New York Times between your legs, so we called them the NY Times or the Sunday Edition.  We asked her to buy the Detroit or local daily instead.  We would describe the flow by what section we needed.  Business section meant ordinary, funnies meant an unusual period, and Parade (a very small section) meant a panty liner.  Tampons became the special advertising insert.  PMS was getting ready to do the NY Times crossword.  This led to headlines for the section; most of these were references to other terms you have already included.

Ragtime music got a similar treatment in that it started out as just that phrase but became more varied and less direct.  Mom knew more of the musicians and writers, so we just guessed when she mentioned someone new.  I still think of Modess and Midol sometimes when Scott Joplin's name comes up in conversation.

The Canadian flag is white with a large red maple leaf.  This lead to: saluting the Canadian flag, defecting to Canada, crossing the bridge into Canada, taking the tunnel to Windsor (from Detroit, Michigan, USA), it's hockey night in Canada (This expression is similar to the US pre-game question, 'Are you ready for some football?') 

Washing machines have cycles, so there is a set of descriptions involving rinse and spin.  This leads to agitation settings.  'I was hoping for a light load on gentle but got jeans on heavy duty.'  I think WC Fields referred to it when he described a woman who should be forgiven because her washing machine was broken.

Songs you could sing or hum were good for code: Red Sails in the Sunset, Here Comes Peter Cottontail, The Bunny Hop, Walk Like an Egyptian, The House of the Rising Sun (Japanese flag), Maple Leaf Rag, O Canada! (Red maple leaf on white flag), The Red, Red Robin Goes Bob Bob Bobbing Along, Remember the Red River Valley.

Offensive to our Jewish friends.  No Jews allowed (well, some Jewish guys still did).  Won't be having the Rabbi over for dinner tonight.  Not Kosher.  Not Kosher for Passover (Also draws in the image of lamb's blood on the door frames).

Because there would be no need for a rabbit test: The bunny lived!  Another rabbit's life is spared!  Peter Rabbit is hopping.  Br'er Rabbit's is laughing again.  Hopping down the bunny trail.  Here come Flopsy and Mopsy.  It's not Easter but the rabbit's celebrating anyway.

Not pregnant: Don't need to rewrite the will this week.  Came dangerously close to the gene pool but am currently toweling off.  The pediatricians are getting worried about losing future customers, so Dr. Blank is busy drawing Binky, learning more about the dynamic opportunities in the heating and cooling industry, taking in a boarder, etc.

Different brands' slogans, commercial copy, pseudotext from instructional pamphlets, etc: I'm even absorbing the worry (Rely), Because, millions of women have and you can, too, doing all of the things I can do the rest of the month, enjoying favorite activities like tennis and swimming ­ without worry!  Because an egg did not become fertilized and implant itself, I am experiencing a normal shedding of the uterine lining.

Wearing or reading The Red Badge of Courage.

She's not colorfast this week.  Once at the beach, my friend's 'friend' came early and caught her unprepared.  She didn't have her own car with her to go to the store.  I showed her where we kept the stash and told her to use what she needed.  The next day we went out on the lake in small, inflatable rafts.  She had a brand-new red hooded sweatshirt tied around her waist.  As we were getting into the raft, she leaned over and dipped part of the shirt into the lake.  The dye from the material ran bright red against the yellow raft.  In an offended hostess voice, I reminded her that, as a guest, she was welcome to use whatever she needed.  We were still trying to push off from the beach while both curled up in the fetal position laughing.  That made our butts drag on the sand so we had even less chance of getting the raft launched.  Waves came over the side and the raft filled higher and higher with reddish pink water.  The guys paddled back to help us and see what we were laughing about.  I think they figured it out.

Bad clam season: red tides were supposed to make seafood poisonous.

My car's stalled at a red light means a longer than normal period.

Making pink lemonade (blood and urine mixed).

Visiting the red planet.  Off to Mars.

Any conversation including the words light, regular, and super means you need a tampon.  'It would be super if you could turn on the light for me ­ just the regular ones.'  'Could Superman see in regular light?'

At some offices, the employer thoughtfully provides a free supply.  Thus, women refer to 'certain paper products only available in the ladies room.'  One of my office mates was already in the stall when she discovered a need.  She made a noise that I recognized and I asked her if she needed me to hand her something.  Through the crack in the door she saw me reach for a tampon, and said, 'No, the little square box.'  Months later she had occasion to tell me she was having cramps and referred to the incident.  'I'm using what's in those little square boxes.'  Of course, when the jerk from accounting approaches, a wise woman mentions tampons by name, directly, and loud enough for him to hear while he has time to turn and run.

Screamed loudly into dorm hallway, 'I need SERIOUS DRUGS and a HEATING PAD!' 

Synchronizing up was common in the dorm so PMS hit the floor like a tornado sometimes.  It coincided with midterms once, and a floor mate dismissed a loud fight between two roommates as, 'They'll be friends again by next week.  They're fighting over the heating pad.'

Disposal issues fall under the term girl garbage.  As in, 'Where do you put your girl garbage?'

Shopping for enzymatic laundry soap.

I have special girl stuff to do.  This means 'No, I can't wait until the next rest stop.'

Fish and then restock the pond means changing a tampon.

Based on jokes:

I'm missing (only wearing) one sock.  [How can you tell a Whatever woman at the beach?  She's wearing white socks.  How can you tell if she's having her period?  She's only wearing one sock.  What kills Whatever women?  Toxic Sock Syndrome. ]

Egyptian Flu Shot.  The Egyptian Flu makes you a mummy.  I don't remember calling it the Egyptian Flow but that makes sense now.  We did add Walk Like an Egyptian to the song list, though.

Typewriter's fixed.  You think your typewriter's pregnant because it skipped a period.

I was surprised that more terms involving mouse mattresses were not listed.  Keeping the mouse up nights, making the mouse sleep on the floor or the couch, being a mouseketeer, Mickey Mouse gestures, etc.  Heavy periods meant evacuating all of the mice (due to extreme flooding, of course).

With reference to other items on this page:

As for the communists invading the summer house, we called it the red army and it invaded the southlands.

Strings attached was common in Michigan in the '70s as was ram a tam by non-sorority women.

I was hospitalized in England and they referred to the pads by the brand name Dr Whites.

I would have sent this information a few years earlier but I didn't realize that you were still collecting data.  I was raised during a time when cramps meant you were unhappy with your gender or maybe a lesbian.  If an MD had met one woman who didn't have problems, he (there weren't many women doctors then) was certain that the rest of us must be mentally ill.  My mother didn't tell me about cramps because she didn't want to put ideas into my head.  I was pretty upset to have the 'wonderful time' described by those pamphlets repeatedly marred by the same strange set of symptoms three times in a row.  I was even more upset to find that these symptoms were going to accompany each and every period.  I'd need a heating pad, supply of hot tea, and a barf bucket for two or three days every month - for decades to come!  I remember sitting down with a calendar and trying to imagine how many life events were going to be ruined from that moment on. 

I learned to hate those starched, white-dressed women who stood beside the man in the lab coat while he explained to me that it was all imaginary.  Some of them would catch me alone and whisper things about aspirin and whiskey, but most would smile that every 28 days like clockwork smile.  I knew they weren't going to help the women's rights movement any.  At least no one tries to impose their symptom-free vision on us any more.  I think that women who have never had uncomfortable experiences with menstruation have less reason to create humor around the subject.  They miss out on a certain bond we fellow sufferers have.  Perhaps it is the other way around now, and women who don't get PMS or cramps feel less womanly.  I hope not.  It would be nice if we could just be ourselves, just be the women we are playing the hands we were dealt instead of being judgmental towards each other.

Thanks for the great site!


[Later she added:]

Yes, these have all been uttered at some point.  Most were short-lived until I typed them.  The average length in use for the less popular was three to days.  It did take quite a while to search my organic database for these terms.  I had started a list when I discovered your site a few years back but I lost or deleted it.  Every once in a while, I'd remember another one and add it to this new document.  In re-reviewing the list, I noticed that you might want to include that the Canadian flag's center portion is white with red.  The flag also has red at each side.

And, yes, indeed, my family members are a sharp-tongued breed.  My mother was an English teacher; my father sent our first puns to a cartoonist who illustrated them and published them in a panel next to the Family Circus.  Friends at the girls school would spend days conversing only in song lyrics.  On weekend trips to the cottage, we'd often pick a theme and do jokes on it from Friday night until Sunday afternoon.  (Please do not ask about the deck hand with the chip on his shoulder and his Old Maid Ante with her face flushed from drinking gin!)  College was another time for song parodies and repetitive jokes.  I have had deliberately bad poetry published.  It was only normal that this bodily function become fodder for wordplay.

From my friend (who recently figured out why there was so much emphasis on removing bloodstains in detergent ads and now understands the reference to enzymatic detergents) I received a pair of the Martha Stewart Mules ­ slippers made from maxi pads ­ to which I did not see a reference on your site.  If you would like them, I would be happy to mail them to you with the semi-amusing instructions for making them.  They may not fit into an ordinary PO box as they are made of four fully re-inflated pads. 

As for my opinion on why you started this project, there is often just one reason a straight man does anything: to meet chicks!



Andrés (porque viene una vez por mes) "A male name that rhymes with the rest of the verse that translates, 'Andrés (because it comes once a month).'" The woman contributor writes that this is "in Castellano (Spanish spoken in Argentina).'" (September 2001)
La regla menstruation, from the contributor of Andrés


*"Nancy," from Australia, sent the ones with an asterisk. She wrote, "My Dad, being from Germany, used to call it 'red week.'"

Aunt Rose "Hi. What a great site! Keep up the good work! What my friends and I in Australia have called menstruation: 'The red coats are coming' or 'The English are coming' which I suppose reflects old colonial anti-English/anti-establishment sentiments. 'The communists have invaded' is in a pretty similar vein I suppose. 'I feel like a bowl of soup' - referring to the bloated fluid retention feeling often associated with it (kinda goopy!), AND because you often feel like your comfort foods (for me it's often warm soup) 'Aunt Rose' - pretty obvious 'having an earache' - why else can't you swim!?!? 'Out-of-date baby batter'- for the actual blood and tissue. Yup. Hope these bring a smile to someone's face. Giggle. Kind regards." (May 2007)
Betty An Australian woman living in the U.S.A. writes, "A few more euphemisms for the list: in my family the period was generally referred to as 'Betty'. If it was a bad one, 'Betty's a bitch'. We called tampons 'plugs' - since I'm the oldest of 5 girls plugs and pads were a regular on our grocery list! One thing I miss from Australia was the brand of unbleached, unscented cotton pads and tampons. They were the only ones I didn't react to - I'm sensitive or allergic to a lot of things and have problems with yeast, especially in summer." (August 2007)
(The) 28th day
(April 2001)
Bum bags see George (second entry for it)
Bunnies "What a great website you have! A sense of pride in being female is what you've given me this day. Would like to submit something for the "Words" page under the Australia section: Bunny time - for some reason my mum always called pads "bunnies". Her reason was it saved embarrassment, such as "I need to buy some bunnies". I've passed it along to my teen daughter, and we both refer to them as bunnies, hence bunny time." (January 2006)
Bunny time see Bunnies
[The] communists have invaded see Aunt Rose
Cracker time "Apparently my sister-in-law coined this phrase when she noticed that a red-coloured tampon looks rather like a 'penny banger' (a particular type of fireworks). This would have been about 30-35 years ago in Melbourne, Australia," writes the Australian contributor. (April 2001)
CSI: Uterus "One that's caught my eye is 'CSI: Uterus' and its derivatives - a modern joke for a modern world? I'm twenty-one and Australian, but have seen CSI: Uterus only used online in various blogging communities. Also, 'riding the cotton pony' is an oldie; those of us who use a DivaCup or MoonCup can now say the 'silicon pony.' Loving the site - M." (January 2006)
Daisies "In one Sydney girls' school napkins are affectionately referred to as daisies," Germaine Greer is quoted as saying in The Female Eunuch by an American folklorist. (February 2002)
Drain the sump "After a sometimes hilarious, sometimes disgusted, sometimes enchanted scroll through your wonderful list of words, we figured out there was one you'd missed, and thought we'd add something. 'To drain the sump,' related to 'up on blocks,' referring to draining the old oil out of the engine sump (part of regular automotive maintenance known as a 'grease and oil change'). We think it's a typically Australian expression, along with 'riding the white surfboard' and 'raising the Japanese flag.' Hope you like 'em! [At the end of her mail is 'That crazed girl, Improvising her music, Her poetry, Dancing upon the shore - W.B. Yeats']" (January 2005)
Doo-dads* "We use that one in our family: 'We're on our doo-dads.'"
[The] English are coming see Aunt Rose
Fanny pack see Earned your red wings in the America section (possibly not actually used in Australia)
Flag of Japan "At school we called it Fred. My daughter refers to the 'Flag of Japan'. Also sanitary pads were referred to as 'Surfboards.'" (April 2011)
Fred the Australian woman who contributed the entries for New Guinea writes that she and her friends use this term. (June 2001) See also Flag of Japan for another Australian's contribution.
George The 26-year-old Queensland contributor writes, "'George' as in 'George is coming this weekend.' I had a friend who used to use this term until she got a boyfriend named George. Then she called it 'Basil.' After she broke up with him she went back to calling it 'George'!" (December 2001) A SECOND writer tells about HER George: "Have been enjoying your site and this section in particular. When we were at school my friend and I also used to call our periods 'George'. We needed a way to refer to them in public. I had a teddy bear when I was young called George Washington, and I think that's where we got the idea. So you can imagine my surprise to see it already listed here. I don't know why we made the association, probably because it was a word we never used otherwise, so we would both know what we were talking about. She also showed me the shopping list on her fridge years later when she lived with her boyfriend, where he had noted tampons down as 'vag. bungs'. I have very heavy periods and I just call it my 'river of blood'. I'm 35 and from Sydney, Australia. What your other contributor said about 'fanny packs' is true. Here we call those things 'bum bags'. I never thought of tampons when I heard the phrase for the first time. Just remembered, my sister-in-law told me that when my brother wants sex from her during her period, she tells him 'Shop's shut.' A similar theme to others in your list. Thanks again for the great site." (May 2006)
Haemmorhaging* "That's what I called it when I first got them; I was rather shocked about that."
Hairbrush "A friend of mine went to a different primary school, and she and her schoolfriends would say, 'Do you have a hairbrush?' to see if someone had gotten their period yet. I'm not quite sure of where it came from, but let me tell you, it was funny when one day we asked our guy friend, 'Do you have a hairbrush?' and he said, 'No, but I do have a comb'!!!!!! ;) chortles the contributor." (March 2002)
Having an earache see Aunt Rose
I'm bleeding* "Well, that's pretty obvious, huh?"
I feel like a bowl of soup see Aunt Rose
I've got the flags out "My favourite term for menstruation is 'got the flags out.' For example, 'Let's drink beer. I'm sorry dear, but tonight I've got the flags out.'" Sent by a male. (July 2005)
I've got the painters in the contributor comments that the sentence refers to two extremely different activities, and she doesn't know why it's applied to menstruation. The English also use it (see below). (April 2001)
Menstruama The contributor of Raspberry dip writes "also we say 'menstruama' as in, How was your day? "Oh, it was awful, it was menstruama city.'" (January 2006)
Monthlies the contributor writes, "Used by my mother in the 1970s and 1980s (maybe earlier, I wasn't around, and maybe she still uses the word). She was trying to be more modern about it all, but my mother's voice would drop as she whispered, 'She's got her monthlies' (knowing look). In Australia in the 1980s 'Women's Weekly' magazine changed to being published monthly. This caused no end of jokes that the name could hardly be changed to the 'Women's Monthly.'" (May 2001)
[There's a] mouse in the house the Australian contributor writes, "My friend believes tampons look like little mice (with the cotton tail) and so at that special time of the month she says 'There's a mouse in the house.'" (August 2002)
My special time of the month the 23-year-old Australian contributor writes, "I made this one up myself because I feel so happy when I have my period." She added, "And even I don't live near my family anymore, I will often ring my mother when my period arrives to celebrate! I say, 'It's my special time.'" (July 2001)
Off games "Hi, I was looking at your site after my wife came across the term 'AF' on some Australian web sites, and I said I'd try to find out what it means. Thank-you for such an enlightening site. The origins of some of the terms for menstruation are really fascinating. I thought you might like to hear another one which is very "British". In the old days, if a girl at school was menstruating, she could be excused from sports or PE at school by bringing in a note to the school. Hence some women (now mostly in their fifties or older I would think) would use the expression 'Off Games' to indicate that they were menstruating. The expression has stuck even in adult life. Hope you are pleased to have another to add to the list. **** (August 2006)
On the rags*
Out-of-date baby batter see Aunt Rose
Pal The Brisbane contributor writes, "My Mum used to ask us if we had our Pals. I don't know if it had any history behind it. What a strange term. The last thing I would call a period is a Pal." (December 2001)
Plug see Betty
Ragamuffin the contributor from Melbourne writes, "My boyfriend and I use the phrase, 'Are you a ragamuffin yet?' meaning 'Have you got your period yet?' or 'I've got my ragamuffins' meaning 'I've got my period.' We also use the term 'Tim Tam' as code for tampon. 'Have you got any Tim Tams?' These terms originated in the 1990s." (July 2001)
Raising the Japanese flag see Drain the sump
Raspberry dip "My mother is French and she always says 'Tante Rose,' which means Aunt Rose, as in, 'Is your Aunty Rose visiting?' 'Raspberry dip' is a common phrase for having intercourse during menstruation. As in, 'We enjoy afternoon delight (sex) even if it's a raspberry dip.' Some friends and I say 'I need to visit the mud-hut' as a reference to when the women used to seclude themselves during their periods [they still do in some places]. I am a 31-year-old female from Australia." (January 2006)
[The] red coats are coming see Aunt Rose
Riding the red bike*
Riding the white surfboard see Drain the sump
River of blood see George (second entry for it)
Shop's shut see George (second entry for it)
Silicon pony see CSI: Uterus
Sitting on Uncle Billy's knee "The school I went to in the U.S.A. had its own swimming pool so that meant a lot of our sports were based around swimming. Back then in the 70s a lot of us didn't use tampons so swimming was out - you'd have to sit on the bleachers and watch - at roll call you'd have to say 'I'm X,' I s'pose that was short for 'I'm eXcused.' When I got to Australia everyone used tampons so having your period was no excuse for not swimming! My new friends teased me about my (big bulky) pad usage and called it 'sitting on Uncle Billy's knee' - because my friend had a truly awful uncle who was always wanting her to straddle his knee. (She knew how to deal with this old pervert; she'd fart on him. Big noisy ones too. I too have learnt the Art of Strategic Windbreaking.)" (December 2005)
[That] special time of the month see There's a mouse in the house.
Surfboard See Flag of Japan
Surfing "I am a 25-year-old Caucasian female from Texas who has befriended a wonderful 23-year-old from Australia due to a similar interest in a computer game. We were discussing our lives one night and she told me that she and her friends called it 'surfing' because at the time the pads that we used looked like surfboards. Now when we are in our little chat room we talk about our surfing trips. So the origination would be in Australia, but people from all over use it now because of our little circle of friends." (May 2002)
The Periods*
Tante Rose see Raspberry dip
Tim Tam tampon see ragamuffin (July 2001)
Up on blocks "My friends and I use this term for having our period, meaning we're temporarily out of action. You can't drive a car with no wheels if it's up on blocks, can you?? It's easier to explain that you're having your period in a classroom full of aspiring mechanics and being the only girl, made things a little difficult. I found your Web site to be extremely interesting and informative. Thank you for making this Web site accessible to everyone. It's great," writes the contributor. (August 2002)
Vag. bungs see see George (second entry for it)


Marie is op bezoek [Flemish] "Mary is visiting." From the contributor of Mijn maandstonden, Marie komt, etc. (October 2001)
Marie komt
[Flemish] "Mary is coming," from the contributor of Mijn maanstonden (October 2001)
Mijn maandstonden
[Flemish] my monthly "moments' the contributor writes, "In Flanders (the Flemish-speaking part of Belgium) we commonly say [this]. You don't really need to start a new category - Flemish is exactly the same language as Dutch, which they speak in the Netherlands." She also contributed Mijn regels. (June 2001)
Mijn regels [Flemish] my rules (See Mijn maandstonden) (June 2001)


(d=from a male Brazilian [2000], who wrote that these come from southern Brazil, between São Paulo to
Porto Alegre; the translations are his)

Chegaram meus primos de Lagoa Vermelha see Lua vermelha
(d) from the name Francisco, the code girls used to use starting at the beginning of the century. This is an expression used everywhere in Brazil today.
Ele desceu (d) it has gone down
Estou chovendo "I lived in Brazil for a short while, and here are two Portuguese phrases for menstruation I learned: 'Estou chovendo' = 'I'm raining' and 'Estou com Chico' = 'I'm with Chico' (oddly, a male name); akin to visitor, friend, etc. My Brazilian girlfriends loved the phrase 'Aunt Flo' by the way!" (March 2005)
Estou com Chico see Estou chovendo
Estou tampando a boquinha da garrafa "I just wanted to add another one from Brazil (I'm Brazilian). My close friends and I tend to say 'Estou tampando a boquinha da garrafa,' - 'I'm putting a cork in the bottle' (especially a bottle of red wine. As my grandmother used to say, red wine cures cramps :-))" (July 2002)
Eu estou naqueles dias
(d) I'm in those days
Lua vermelha "My name is Eliana and I live in the south of Brazil. Here are some expressions I know: Lua vermelha = red moon. Naqueles dias = in those days. Visita = visitor. Chegaram meus primos de Lagoa Vermelha = My cousins from Red Lake arrived (in the state of Rio Grande do Sul exists a city with that name, so I believe that's an expression used only in that state). Regras= rules." (March 2007)
Menstruação (d)
Menarca (d) only for very young girls
Naqueles dias see Lua vermelha
O visitante (d) the visitor
Pineapple "I have a great girlfriend form Recife, Brazil. **** has always called it 'her pineapple' because it drops when it's ripe." (February 2006)
Regras see Lua vermelha
Sangria inútil (d) useless bleeding Another writer added (July 2003), "[It's] Elsimar Coutinho's very own catchphrase, 'sangria inutil' ('useless bloodletting'). [Coutinho wrote 'Is Menstruation Obsolete?,' a book advocating women's stopping menstruation for the sake of their health, etc; read excerpts]. It's the title for the Portuguese version of 'Is Menstruation Obsolete?' And now the catchphrase is ingrained and used to describe menstruation. Cute, eh?" She added, "I am looking at the words and expressions section of, at the translation contribution I made. Great. I suggest, though, that you keep the origin of the former contributor up there, i.e., the man from Porto Alegre. I have heard the term 'useless bloodletting' used a bunch of times to refer to menstruation, all of them by men. No exception. That might be significant. Another interesting thing is that three of the terms you have posted (five if you count 'boi' and 'paquete,' meaning 'bull' and 'packet,' respectively) are masculine words, Portuguese having gender-specific nouns. This site of yours is making me think a lot!"
Visita see Lua vermelha


(see also French Canada, below)

Are the police visiting? the contributor writes, "Hey, Just thought I'd add one.  I'm Canadian but my boyfriend is from Jamaica. Whenever I tell him we can't do 'anything' right now he says, 'Why, are the police visiting?' It cracks me up." (May 2012)
Aunt Flo from Red River was visiting
the contributor e-mails, "A few years back my sister talking about her prom and how horrid it was (how can they ever be anything less then completely mortifying, but anyway . . .). I asked why and she said, 'Aunt Flo from Red River was visiting.' This was the first time I ever heard this expression but it has since become my favorite way to describe menstruating." (June 2001)
Baby blanket "My mom told me they used to actually use rags when she was a teen! Her friends and she used to call them 'dolly blankets' or 'baby blankets,' as in 'Do you have any dolly blankets? The Cardinal's visit came early.' I can't imagine all that she went through; she is 67 now (2002)," writes the correspondent, who also contributed "I'm on the rag," "Ragging," and "The Cardinal is coming for a visit." (March 2002)
Big red cookie "Hi, I'm not sure if you're still collecting these but I have a few I think you'd enjoy. I'm a 14 year old girl in Ontario, Canada. I've had my period for almost 5 years and me and my friends have a few terms we use. Big red cookie: Me and my bestfriend first used this when we were on our period. I don't really remember why, but I guess it was just a good thing to use as a code name so no-one knew what we were talking about. We always had a good laugh when we said it too. There's a crime scene in my pants!: This is what me and one of my friends say when we first start our period to let each other know that we started it and that we had a heavy flow. CSI: Vagina: I love using this one with 'There's a crime scene in my pants!'. I tell everyone this when I'm on my period, it's amazing watching their reactions :D There's a person inside me using a chainsaw slicing every inch of my uterus to bits: I tell this one to my boyfriend whenever he asks me how bad my cramps are and they're really bad. I like being descriptive and honest, especially during my period. Also if someone asks me why I'm so moody and they don't know I'm on my period, I tell them this. Bloody Miracle: I just recently started saying this because it means I'm not pregnant :D I hope you liked them :D" (May 2011)
Blood bank see Rag box
Bloody Miracle see Big red cookie
Bottomless-pit-for-a-stomach days see I'm occupied (June 2001)
[The] Cardinal is coming for a visit See Baby blanket. (March 2002)
Charlie "I am 54 years old. We moved to Canada when I was 14 and there I learned to refer to one's period as 'Charlie'. Seems like this expression has been around awhile, both north and south of the U.S./Can. border!" (October 2005)
Charlie Brown is in town "In grade seven, my friends and I used to use a code word to talk about our periods: Charlie Brown is in town. That way, you knew why someone couldn't come out to play, or refused to participate in gym, or whatever. 1966.... Kanata, Ontario."
Charlie Brown is visiting "'On the rag': my American mother used to say, New Jersey, 30-40's. 'Charlie Brown is visiting' is what we used to say in grade school near Ottawa, Ontario, so we could talk about it in mixed company. Boys didn't want to hear about periods or blood. My brother-in-law will still say, 'too much information' if we discuss how we are feeling while menstruating. My Jewish neighbour told me her grandmother slapped her when she got her period, that it was a ritual to slap the curse out of a girl and compensate for Eve's crime. She said her mother didn't have the heart to do it herself. She was deaf, and she became deaf at age six." (January 2006)
Crampies "I'd like to include this under Canadian and Japanese euphemisms. My Japanese friend refers to her period as 'My one period' and I found it so charming I never bothered to correct her (that she didn't need to use 'one'). So now we'll be chatting online and she'll write 'I feel tired - today I have my one period!' I love it!! I'm Canadian and while growing up, 'on the rag' or 'that time of the month' were most commonly used among my friends. My mum sometimes says 'Do you have your monthly?' which I noticed another contributor wrote. Nowadays I just call it my (one) period or 'crampies.'" (November 2004)
CSI: Vagina see Big Rd Cookie
Dolly blanket See Baby blanket. (March 2002)
Daddy favours see The magic I
Doc, you don't need to prick my arm, just wait for about five minutes . . . . see The magic I
Do you have your monthly? see Crampies
The] drips see Rag box
Experiencing technical difficulties "Hi, I thought you might like to add my personal period euphemisms to your collection. My husband works as a technician at a casino (we live in Canada) and when we were first married, I would tell him I was 'experiencing technical difficulties' or just that I was 'technically difficult,' My mother, bless her, simply says 'Muffy is sick.'" (April 2016)
Foundry day "My mother has really heavy periods, and she always uses the term "foundry day," meaning that she's losing so much iron, her body's like a foundry. I don't know where she got it from or when she started using it, but she's always said it. When I was a teenager I met a really incredible woman who inspired me greatly, and she always used the term "on my moon" or "have my moon" and I just kind of picked it up from her. When I got my tattoo of a moon, that was part of the symbolism behind it. I'm from Vancouver, B.C., Canada, though my mother grew up in Manitoba, so the foundry day thing may be a prairie thing; the slang there is very different sometimes! Thanks! I love the list!" (August 2004)
Have my moon see Foundry day
How are your gears shifting? "I wrote you awhile ago with my favourite menstruation euphemism, "My transmission is going to fall out." My husband has expanded on the theme and has started asking how my engine is running, how my gears are shifting, whether my transmission fluid is leaking, or if my transmission is still loose. (We just had an engine mount replaced on our car, so I imagine a reference to that is going to make it into the vocabulary pretty soon.)" The contributor has a bachelor's degree in mechanical engineering. (May 2002)
How is your engine running? see How are your gears shifting?
Hulk "My dad used to call 'HULK' a woman on pms 'cause it doesn't take much for her to turn big, green and very dangerous. I'm a 18 years old girl from Montreal (Canada)." (May 2004)
Included "My friends and I used to talk about periods and stuff when we were younger before some of us had started getting our periods. Well, as we grew up some of us started before others and the ones who hadn't got theirs yet felt left out so we made up the term 'unincluded.' When one of my close friends first got her period the moment I saw her she whispered to me, 'I'm included now.' So saying 'I'm included' has been our code phrase for saying we were on our periods ever since. By the way, I'm a 15-year-old from Vancouver, B.C., Canada." (August 2004)
I'm broke "I didn't see 'I'm in debt.' That's what I use with my husband. Or 'I'm broke' cus when you're in debt or broke, the books are written in red!" (May 2006)
I'm in debt see I'm broke.
I'm occupied the contributor writes, "I'm 27 and from the Canadian prairies, and for a few years I've been using the term 'I'm occupied' to denote my period. I used this with my boyfriend at times when I was using a tampon. It meant that there was no room for him in there! (. . . And also has the implication that I'm too busy something else to have sex.) I also have a day or two before my period when I feel the need to eat all the time. I call these my 'bottomless-pit-for-a-stomach days.'" (June 2001)
I'm on the rag see Baby blanket. (March 2002)
I'm seducing vampires
the contributor writes, "I'd just like to share some phrases my Canadian friends and I use for menstruation" (February 2001)
I'm taking Carrie to the prom sent by the contributor of I'm seducing vampires (February 2001)
Is your crotch bleeding again? "Hello! I'm very pleased to see that there's an actual museum of menstruation! It's about time women opened up and talked about their periods. However, my friends and i are very blantant, to-the-point, and OPEN people, so we have our own terminology of periods. Here goes (p.s., I'm in Canada): Is your crotch bleeding again? There's a massacre in your pants, You're rebooting your ovarian operating system, Your endometrium is shedding. Lol, hope that helps!!" (November 2005)
Is your transmission fluid leaking? see How are your gears shifting?
Is your transmission still loose? see How are your gears shifting?
It feels like your transmission is going to drop out "I was just reading the 'euphemisms' section, and something one of the Americans wrote, 'having mechanical difficulties,'reminded me of something one of my university friends used to say. We were talking about our periods and trying to describe the particular sensation of having a very heavy flow day and feeling, for some reason, as if you have to keep your legs clenched together at all times in order to prevent the blood (and possibly your uterus as well) from gushing right through the pad and flooding out the legs of your pants. She said, 'It feels like your transmission is going to drop out.' As a mechanical engineering student, I found this description particularly apt. By the way, I am a 25-year-old Canadian." See her later contributions under How are your gears shifting? (October 2001)
Monthly miracle the contributor writes, "I quite enjoyed the list! I'm from Canada, but the differences between us and the U.S. don't seem to be very great in this case. My family peculiarity is to call it your 'Monthly Miracle,' a combination of sarcasm (as it's anything but) and the fact that it was a 'miracle' you weren't pregnant. It's apparently slang my mother used in the 1960's. The most common thing to use is to say 'that time' or 'that time of the month' as any woman will understand what you mean. For males, I often refer to my cramps as 'the other sort of stomach ache' (Usually because they'll ask how I am and I'll say 'I have a stomach ache' and they'll say 'Oh, take this -' and I'll say 'No, the other sort of stomach ache'). Or if it's headaches from my period it'll be, of course, 'the other sort of headache.' I only use that for males because I've found us ladies can be quite vocal and graphic in describing just how rough our periods are to each other, but men just can't handle it. I suspect one of these days that'll be a new slang and all I'll have to say is I'm 'the other sort.' Not quite yet, though . . . ." See also That time, That time of the month, and The other sort of headache. (August 2002)
Monthly statement "My uncle (a fellow from the Island of Newfoundland in Canada) has always called a period a 'Monthly Statement'. Considering he had a lot of sisters and only had daughters in his own family, plus growing up being adored by his nieces, we always thought we had the best expressions for girly things. I wasn't surprised too when my brother picked this up. He confused his wife once when I couldn't visit them because I was having a bad time of it and when she asked why I couldn't visit he told her I just got my monthly statement and her response was 'She's not coming over because she got her Visa bill?' My brother died laughing and it was a good while before he could explain to her what he meant." (April 2010)
[The] Moody Monthly "My husband and I use a number of different phrases. One is The Moody Monthly ('You've got your Moody Monthly'). The Moody Monthly is actually the name of a newsletter, or magazine from a college (Moody College, named after its founder, D. L. Moody) in Chicago, Illinois. It is also an apt name for our periods, all things considered. Another one we use is 'The manner of women.' This comes from the Bible, when a woman was hiding idols under the saddle of her camel, and claimed she couldn't get up because 'The manner of women is upon me.' I have also used 'on the flow' or 'on my flow.' Don't know exactly how they started, but it just came out of my mouth once!" writes the contributor. (January 2002)
Mr. Friendly "It was always 'Mr. Friendly' for my mother and I - and now my boyfriend and all my past and current roommates. I don't know the origin, but I'd hazard a guess that my mother made it up herself. She paired a nice touch of irony (Mr. Friendly was never very friendly to my mother or I; both of us are/were prone to awful cramps, and both of us started menstruating at 10!) with a little misandry (odd that something so uniquely feminine was always associated with the male gender in our household). I'm a Canadian in my mid-twenties. Thanks for the good laughs!" (September 2003)
Muffy is sick see Experiencing technical difficulties
My one period see crampies
On my moon see Foundry day
On the flow (or rag) see Moody Monthly
On the rag "My friends and I (in Canada) always say that," writes the contributor (February 2001)
[The] Japs have attacked "I thought I would send a contribution of a term my girlfriend and I used during our teens in the early to mid 1980s. Since most teen girls of that time used pads, the red on the white reminded us of a Japanese flag. So we'd say 'The Japs have attacked' or just ask each other, 'Japs attacked?'" Looking back at that, it sounds horribly racist. Anyways, we're from Canada." (November 2001)
Rag box "Hi, Have been enjoying your site, there is too much information there to absorb (!) in one go. I'm from Canada. The euphemism section caught my eye. I was in an all-girls' boarding school in high school, and we were each assigned various chores, which we called housework. If your housework included cleaning the toilets and emptying the small garbage cans in each toilet stall (often over-full with soiled pads and tampons because of the synchrony of girls living together), you considered yourself particularly unlucky to have to empty the 'rag box.' I find this a great and descriptive name for that particular kind of small garbage with a lid can found in bathroom stalls. Also, in junior high school, one particular friend and I called our periods 'TD' for 'The Drips' (we were very into two-letter abbreviations at the time). There is a bank in Canada called TD Bank, so combining their name with our code it was a 'blood bank,' which we found oh-so-punny at the time!" (June 2006)
Ragging See Baby blanket. (March 2002)
Red flag week a woman e-mailer says it's also used in Scotland (September 2000) Volcano the contributor from a university in Canada writes, "Mine is quiet heavy and explosive so I have affectionately nicknamed it 'volcano,' as at time is feels like I have molten lava between my legs! My friends have picked up on it and although we are not prone to euphemisms as we feel no shame in being women, we have found 'volcano' to be an apt description." (March 2001)
Sloughing "My boyfriend and I always use 'sloughing,' pronounced 'shluff,' from Shakespeare's 'sloughing off this mortail coil.' Usage: 'Darling, are you sloughing? I'll make some herbal tea.' *** in Toronto." "Sloughing" is also a term for expelling the uterine lining during menstruation - or when reptiles shed their skin. (June 2003)
TD see Rag box
Tears of a disappointed uterus "The great Canadian-American physician Sir William Osler (1849-1919) once referred to the menstrual flow as '... the tears of a disappointed uterus.' I guess the sole purpose of a uterus is to produce a full term baby, and menstruation shows a failure to make her goal. (" (May 2007)
Technically difficult see Experiencing technical difficulties
That time see Monthly miracle
That time of the month see Monthly miracle
The drips see Rag box
The magic I "I'm not sure if you're still updating, but I've a few more expresisons to add. I'm not sure if they're original or not, but they're funny nonetheless. 'The Soviets are coming.' (I assume referring to the red of the blood). 'Daddy favours' are female products, tampons, pads, etc, but I've only used those with my dad. 'Puppy pads" are the thick pads that have to be folded into fourths and have two sets of wings, not just one. I like those. 'The magic I' is ibuprofen, one of the few things that gets me through the painful cramping. 'There's a legion of little vampires following me round and they're looking for a meal and....' 'Doc, you don't need to prick my arm, just wait for about five minutes with the vial....' Sorry if any of these seem to be over the top. Thanks for listening, and I enjoy your site!" (December 2009)
The manner of women see Moody Monthly
The other sort of stomach ache (headache) see Monthly miracle
The Soviets are coming see The magic I
The tomato boat
The contributor writes, "As in 'the tomato boat's coming in.' A woman I used to work with years ago used this expression and I've always remembered it because it seems nonsensical and yet any woman would know instantly what you meant if you said it. I'm a 37-year-old Canadian. Love your site!" (January 2002)
There's a crime scene in my pants! see Big red cookie
There's a legion of little vampires following me round and they're looking for a meal and . . . . see The Magic I
There's a massacre in your pants see Is your crotch bleeding again?
There's a person inside me using a chainsaw slicing every inch of my uterus to bits see Big red cookie
TNSFF "My SIL and I use the term 'TNSFF' instead of saying we are on our periods. I know it doesn't roll off the tongue but you get used to it. When we were in college, there was a commercial in Canada and probably the U.S., as well. It was for a feminine hygiene product, possibly a douche or something. I can't remember now. Anyway, a daughter and her mother are sitting outside and the daughter asks her mom if she ever gets That Not So Fresh Feeling --- TNSFF. There were a whole group of us that used this term because we all hated that commercial so we basically made fun of it by saying we were having that not so fresh feeling and it eventually got shortened to the initials. [See what happens when you're not so fresh!]" (May 2008)
Underwear time "My husband has always affectionately called my period 'Underwear Time' or U.T. because that is the only time of the month that I wear underwear to bed. Great website! I'm from Canada by the way." (December 2006)
Unincluded see Included
You're rebooting your ovarian operating system see Is your crotch bleeding again?
Your endometrium is shedding see Is your crotch bleeding again?


Auntie see Mother's eldest sister
Da Yi Ma
see Regular holiday
Fred see MC
Have you seen Fred yet? see MC
I feel a bit uncomfortable see MC
Li Jia see Regular holiday
Little red sister has come
"Hi. I thought you might like to know that two traditional Chinese terms for menstruation are 'Little red sister has come' and 'The red general has grasped the door,'" wrote a male New Yorker, a publisher specializing in Asian literature (June 1998)
M "Hi, First of all, I want to thank you for setting up such an informative and fascinating web site. I enjoy browsing through it a lot! I also want to contribute a little to the list of expressions for menstruation on your website. In Hong Kong (where most of us speak Cantonese instead of Mandarin/Putonghua like in the rest of China), we often use the letter 'M' as an euphemism for period, as in 'M napkins', 'M pain', 'My M has come'. I'm pretty sure the letter stands for 'menstruation'. The expression 'Auntie/Mother's eldest sister/Senior Aunt' (same characters as 'Da Yi Ma' in Mandarin, but in Cantonese we pronounce them as 'Daai Yi Ma') seems to be growing out of fashion and is not much used by young people anymore. My mother used to refer to menstruation as 'that thing' (e.g. 'Has that thing of yours come?'), and when she talks to my grandma she would usually call it 'unclean/dirty thing', as in 'I think her dirty thing has cleared' (= 'I think her period has ended'). I hate the expression, because, well, it makes me feel dirty. I hope this rambling e-mail would be of use to you :) **** (June 2008)
MC "Firstly thank you for this wonderful website which I just discovered today. I'd like to add a couple of phrases to the Chinese section, although I'm not sure if they are only specific to Taiwan. The term that seems to be used professionally is 'MC' which I assume stands for 'monthly cycle'. Many young women call it 'my good friend' (the contributor gave apparently the actual Chinese for each expression but they did not appear coreectly in my e-mail) or sometimes simply 'that'. We also often say 'I feel a bit uncomfortable.' When I was at primary school in England a group of my (pre-menstrual) friends decided to christen it 'Fred' as a convenient way of checking whether anyone had got their first period 'Have you seen Fred yet?'Are there culturally specific words/phrases for one's first period? My friend wrote me a letter stating that 'something had happened to her', and her mother told her 'she wasn't a little girl anymore'. My mother asked me if I knew about periods, then sent me to see my sister! Once again, thank you for the website." (December 2007)
Monthly experience
[translated from Chinese, of course] "In Chinese, we say MONTHLY EXPERIENCE. And it's the formal term for menstruation. I personally (here in the U.S.) use RIDE THE COTTON PONY, probably a derivative of IN THE SADDLE AGAIN," writes the contributor. (June 2002)
Mother's eldest sister "In Hong Kong (in Cantonese), women have called menstruation 'mother's eldest sister' or 'auntie' colloquially. Pads are called 'mother's eldest sister napkins.' Regards, ****" (May 2007) But the contributor of M writes, "The expression 'Auntie/Mother's eldest sister/Senior Aunt' (same characters as 'Da Yi Ma' in Mandarin, but in Cantonese we pronounce them as 'Daai Yi Ma') seems to be growing out of fashion and is not much used by young people anymore. [June 2008]"
My good friend see MC
[The] red general has grasped the door See Little red sister has come
Red dragon as in "Taming the red dragon," which a reader described as a way of eliminating menstruation by massaging the nipples, which in some women causes lactation, which in turn usually stops menstruation. (December 2003)
Regular holiday "Hi, there are words widely used in China not mentioned at site, 1. Regular holiday [In Chinese pronuciation, "Li Jia"]; 2. Senior aunt [In Chinese pronuciation, "Da Yi Ma"] Sorry my translation might not be perfect In addition, I know my previous girlfriend called the cotton pony "white bread," but I guessed it is not widely used at all. Sincerely yours,****" (August 2004)
Senior aunt see Regular holiday
She wasn't a little girl anymore see MC
Something had happened to her see MC
That see MC
That thing see M
Unclean/dirty thing see M
White bread see Regular holiday


Andrés "My Latina girlfriends (from Uruguay, Mexico and Colombia) and I (U.S.A. with a Mexican soul) all call it Andrés (from 'él que viene cada mes' - he who comes every month). My husband, born in Mexico, refers to tampons as 'vampiritos' (literally, little vampires, because they suck blood). We both also refer to 'black towel time' because we toss one on the bed to protect the sheets if we want to play. Great site," writes the contributor. (August 2002)


Things "In Croatia, the word 'menstruation' is pretty much obsolete in everyday language. Everybody just calls it 'things.' As in: 'I have things,' 'I still haven't gotten my things.' I've never understood why, though." (January 2007)

Czech Republic and Czechoslovakia

Jahodovy Proces "My Czech ex-girlfriend used two slang terms for menstrual periods: 'Jahodovy Proces' (Strawberry Process) and 'Privniho Maj' (The First of Kveten, called poetically, and more understandably, May 1st), a day when pre-Velvet Revolution Prague was bedecked with red flags," writes the contributor. "Please make my contribution anonymous. I will be SO busted if she ever finds me putting her words on the Web." (July 2002) In February, 2007, a woman wrote, "Re: Jahodovy proces: I would translate 'proces' more as 'trial.' [as in German "Der Prozeß," which is the name of Kafka's "The Trial"] Re: 'Prvniho Maje': The translation is listed as the 'First of Kveten.' 'Kveten' is just the normal Czech word for the month of May (Maj is rarely used, though it is the Slovak word). Kveten, incidentally, is also related to the word 'flower.' The first of May is these days more a day for lovers to go to the top of Petrin hill, although there's still a fair bit of red. :-)"

Privniho Maj The First of Kveten (see Jahodovy Proces)


A Danish woman studying physics in Copenhagen sent the entries marked with * in March 2006.

Der bliver malet i entreen* The hallway is being painted
Der er kommunister i lysthuset* There are communists in the funhouse
Jeg flager rødt (i den nedre region)* The red flag is up (in the lower regions)
Jeg har det røde* I have the red (thing)
Jeg har mændenes frustration* I've got the male frustration
Jeg koger jordbær* I'm boiling strawberries
Man er ikke rigtig sømand før man har sejlet på det Røde Hav* You are not a real sailor before you've sailed the Red Sea

England, Great Britain

(United Kingdom, also; find Wales, Scotland, Ireland & Northern Ireland towards the bottom of the page. Yes, I know the categories overlap.)

A bloody waste of fucking time "I'm 29 and from Texas and we, too, used 'George' as the term in high school. I usually just refer to it as 'that time of the month.' I used to see a guy who used to call it 'a bloody waste of fucking time.' He was 36 and from South Africa and Great Britain. ****, DVM."
Are you on?
See TTOM (February 2002) See also On
Arsenal are playing at home
"About 30 years ago in UK, Warwick, Warwickshire, I worked with an older woman about 40ish (I was mid 20s then) and she always used the words 'The flag is flying' when she had her period. About 20 - 25 years ago my husband used the term 'Arsenal are playing at home' where 'The Arsenal' are a successful London soccer team who play in a red and white kit. I read a book from the 1990s about the Hopi on the third mesa (Arizona?) in western USA and the women living there used cotton washable pads soaked in a moon pot of cold water before proper washing.† The water in the pot was emptied directly back onto mother earth as a gift for her." (February 2012)
Blobbing "My usual term for menstruation is 'on the blob,' [see below] it might be a Plymouth (Devon, UK) thing as a school friend used to refer to it as 'blobbing.'" (February 2008)
Blowjob time "[B]ecause most women don't want to have sex during their period," writes the contributor. She also writes, "Hi, I am 21 and live in the U.K. and I thought I would contribute the various slang names I have heard for menstruation. 'Tammy's here' (Tammy being slang for a tampon). 'I'm on, or I've come on.' 'Women's problems.' 'The Reds are playing at home' (referring to the England football team). 'Phasing' (to do with the cycles of the moon). 'The painters and decorators are in.' 'Hairy axe wound' (what the vagina looks like during a period). 'La moment de la lune' (I don't know if this is spelt right, but when I was in school we had a French exchange student over. One day she came up to me in the toilets and asked if I had anything, for (she did not know the English word) her 'la moment de la lune' (which translates as 'the moment of the moon'), I guessed what she meant although I had not heard the phrase before, and it has always stuck with me.)" (October 2003)
Charlies [for tampons] A comment to a Gail Collins New York Times column produced this synonym. I quote (from commentator "celia") the part that the Times deleted:

Can we all please remember that the current heir to the throne cheated on his first wife with his current wife, is known to have said to his then mistress that he wished he were her tampon and that women in Britain for some time after that conversation was made public called their tampons Charlies. 
And all on the taxpayer's dime without being accountable to the public. 
Really? That's what you want? [July 2013]

Come in a car see Red rose What does this mean??
Come on An e-mailer to the "Would you stop menstruating if you could?" page used this term when describing her first period: 'I'd been feeling vaguely ill all day, but when I found out I'd 'come on' for the first time I was elated! It was just about painless, and I felt I was now grown up. . . . Better still to not have bleeding, and not bleeding on your clothes when you don't realise you've come on!" (August 2004)
Country cousins have arrived see Tummy trouble
Courses Dr Sara Read
(more from Dr Read) of Loughborough University e-mailed me the following in response to a TV inquiry I received about the words Puritans (17th century) used:

There were a few expressions in use at this time (including actually 'terms' itself).

The most common ones were: flowers, courses, and terms. However, they were unlikely to be used in open conversation where instead women tended to say things like 'those' or 'nature' that type of thing. The expressions, then, imply menstruation rather than say it, so if for example she was telling another woman she thought she might be pregnant she might say, 'I haven't had those for a while' and assume that the other woman knew what she meant. Men tended to be more direct and say terms or courses 'she hasn't had her course' for example. They also used the biblical 'custom of women' so an older woman might be described as no longer having the custom of women, for example.

The whole of Chapter One of my book [which appears in September 2013] Menstruation and the Female Body in Early Modern England is devoted to the language used for menstruation in the early modern era.

[The] curse see My friend
Custom of women see Courses
Down time
"From when a (mechanical) plant is shut down/closed for repairs," contributed the male who also sent "In phase" and "My steak is raw." (January 2002)
Fairy hammocks "British comedienne Jo Brand referred to sanitary towels as 'Fairy Hammocks'. It's the most ridiculous name, especially from the mouth of Ms Brand. I have used the phrase ever since; my shopping list will have the word 'Fairies' or just 'FH'; I know if I ever drop the list I won't be embarrassed. Love the site! **** U.K." (August 2004)
Fanny pack see Earned your red wings in the America section (possibly not actually used in the U.K.)
(The) Flag is flying "About 30 years ago in UK, Warwick, Warwickshire, I worked with an older woman about 40ish (I was mid 20s then) and she always used the words 'The flag is flying' when she had her period. About 20 - 25 years ago my husband used the term 'Arsenal are playing at home' where 'The Arsenal' are a successful London soccer team who play in a red and white kit. I read a book from the 1990s about the Hopi on the third mesa (Arizona?) in western USA and the women living there used cotton washable pads soaked in a moon pot of cold water before proper washing.† The water in the pot was emptied directly back onto mother earth as a gift for her." (February 2012)
Flowers see Courses
Flying the Japanese flag "I'm a male from England. One I've heard quite often is 'Flying the Japanese Flag' - for obvious reasons." (November 2002)
Full stop "My girlfriend in Norwich, England used the term 'full-stop.' It was a double entendre, as the term is interchangeable there with 'period' for an end-of-sentence marker, and as it was also likely to put off previous male friends from pursuing a sexual encounter. I'm male, from the U.S. Pacific Northwest. [At the end of the e-mail was "All that is gold does not glitter, Not all those who wander are lost"] (January 2005)
Geneese "Dear Curator, I visited the Museum of Menstruation today, very interesting I must say and perhaps I have a new term for you to add under the British/U.K. section. When I was a newly menstruating teenager myself and a group of friends used to call it 'geneese' sung to the tune of Blondie's song 'Denis, Denis' as in:

Geneese, Geneese, you are my special friend,
Geneese Geneese, you're with me now and then,
Geneese Genee-eese I'm so in love with you - o, o, doobeedoooo

So when we had our periods we would say, 'Geneese is here at the moment' or some such. I'm not sure that this really merits inclusion as we were only a small group that employed the term, but anyway, keep up the good work." (November 2002)
Girlie week "My British fiance calls it 'Girlie Week,' which I see is not listed under your England heading! Too funny! Regards, **** (New Jersey)" (January 2004)
Hairy axe wound see Blowjob time
Having the rags on see Tummy trouble
I'm bleeding profusely from my vagina see Nosebleed
I'm having the red painters in "Don't know where it comes from. I discovered this expression in a book by Louise Rennison, British writer. Guess it was 'Angus, Thongs and Full-Frontal Snogging' or 'It's OK, I'm Wearing Really Big Knickers.'" (December 2005)
I'm in season
"I'm in England, my partner is in the U.S.A.; he found the link to your site and I thought I'd share what we call my periods. It's either 'I'm in season' or 'I'm on heat.' He's wonderfully open minded about it, but his mother was a nurse!" (September 2001)
I'm on, or I've come on see Blowjob time
I'm on heat see "I'm in season." (September 2001)
I'm on my rags "As girls (starting our periods around 1990) we would say 'I'm on my rags.' North East of England." (July 2003)
I've come on or Have you come on? see Nosebleed
I've got the decorators in see Liverpool are playing at home Also contributed again: "Hi, I live in London (UK), I'm 25. My boyfriend's sister -who's in her late thirties - always says 'I've got the decorators in.' I normally just say I've got my period, but Im always in so much pain I don't care who knows!" (December 2005)
I've got the painters in see Nosebleed
I've got the rellies (relatives) round to stay see Liverpool are playing at home
In phase "A reference to the lunar cycle," writes the male contributor, who also contributed "Down time" and "My steak is raw." (January 2002)
Ladies' nappies "My frind in England tells me that in the late 60's her sister and other friends used the expression 'Ladies Nappies' (diapers) to explain them to the young sons." (August 2005)
Little Albert is still a terrible myth see My friend
Liverpool are playing at home "This refers to the English football team (soccer to Americans) who play in red. Or 'I've got the decorators in' and 'I've got the rellies (relatives) round to stay.' I love the Web site, although my boyfriend is absolutely incredulous that it exists and that there are other people who, like me, find it all such a fascinating topic. ****, Liverpool, England" (November 2005)
Manchester United are playing at home "Couldn't help but chuckle at your most comprehensive list of slang from around the World, relating to the 'monthly', a source of amusement to me and my circle of female friends.
If I may, I'd like to quote a couple of English ones, well known at that...
"Man[chester] U[nited] are playing at home" - The English Premier League's foremost football team ('soccer' in the U.S) nicknamed the "Red Devils".  Football Association tradition dictates that a football team play in their 'usual' team strip when at home, and have a variety of style of kits when playing away, hence, 'Man Utd are playing at home'.
Trooping the Colour - used in other countries according to relevance but, in this case, relates to the Grenadier Guards, who 'Troop the Colour' at Buckingham Palace, the home of HM Queen Elizabeth II.  An example of their red tunics would be the soldiers in the film 'Zulu', with Michael Caine & Stanley Baker.
An old joke, though crude, going around is that if the Earth spun 30 times faster, then the men would get paid every day and all the women would bleed to death."
Regards, [a male name] (April 2013)

Man United are playing at home!
a woman writes that her friend says this (October 2000)
Mousehouse "Hello! A couple of British contributions for your impressive euphemisms collection: 1. 'On the blob' - at school it was accepted for being on your period to be described so, 2. and the presence of a tampon(tail, mouse) as noticed by my boyf[riend], means he refers to me, and my period, as 'mousehouse'. You have a wonderful website!" (January 2008)
My aunt parked her red Porsche outside see Red rose
My friend
"I thought you might be interested in something I've noticed about English terms. We always referred to it as 'the curse,' but among working-class wives, it was known as 'my friend.' This would confuse some doctors whose first language was not English; a woman would say 'I've got my friend with me' and the doctor would wonder where this person was! This would have started back in the nineteeth century; for middle-to-upper class women, their period was 'a curse' - a painful waste of time, but for working-class women, who had far more children and little access to contraception, their period was a welcome 'friend' - which showed they had escaped pregnancy that month. This is a brilliant site - I'm laughing so much at the terms used for menstruation, the men in the house ask what I'm finding so funny (in an arch sort of way) and once I tell them they say 'Eeeeew Yuck' and run. English men of my age group seem to be like that about periods. Before I married, I used to say to my fiance when my period started, 'Little Albert is still a terrible myth,' meaning I wasn't pregnant. My Mother always used to listen when I was on the phone and she newer twigged that phrase! All the best, ***" (June 2003)
My steak is raw A male contributed this and wrote, "This one took me a long time to understand! Especially as it came from a house-mate at University. Assumably a reference to the way blood oozes out from a steak. Ewww! BTW - I'm from the UK and, and as you can probably guess from the naivete of some of the comments, male." (January 2002)
Nature see Courses
Nosebleed "I have a friend whose code to her boyfriend (while she still lived at home with her parents) about whether she had her period or not, and therefore whether they would have sex or not, was whether or not she had a 'nosebleed.' One of myfriends says, 'I've got the painters in.' When I was at school (80s/90s) we'd usually say ''I've come on' or 'Have you come on?' Very vague, but we all understood each other! Nowadays I'm less coy and just often say 'I'm bleeding profusely from my vagina' :) Also, I used to live in France, where they would say 'J'ai les Anglaises.' None of my French friends knew exactly where this originated from though they speculated it was a reference to the red jackets which the guards at Buckingham palace wear. Hope this helps! **** (who is currently bleeding profusely from her vagina.)" (November 2003)
Off games The e-mailer from the U.K. writes, "Dunno if a bloke has any business submitting synonyms for menstruation, but this is one I have heard. 'Off Games' is sometimes used by English women, particularly if they went to boarding school. Many boarding schools maintain a list of who is available to play sport and who isn't ­ On Games and Off Games. Menstruation is the most common reason for getting Off Games (at an all-girl school), so 'Off Games' has come to mean menstruation. Citations on the Web are few and far between: Menstruation synonyms: lists it. Nigella Lawson in the Guardian:,5673,382824,00.html doesn't use it as a synonym for menstruation but demonstrates how it came about. The only paper print reference I can think of off the top of my head is that a suspect in one of Colin Dexter's Inspector Morse novels ­ I can't remember which one, and I don't have them to hand to check ­ uses the abbreviation 'O.G.' in her diary. Inspector Morse (the bachelor detective) wonders what it means; his married sidekick (Sergeant Lewis) tells him. Kind regards, . . . ." (July 2002)
On "'On' - as in 'I've been on for a week' or 'I came on yesterday.' Have heard it often from lots of different people - all Brits I think though." (February 2003) See also Are you on?
On blob The English woman contributor writes, "One of the most common phrases used is 'On Blob'; also "Red Flag Day." (November 2000)
On the blob
contributed by a woman who said she has heard it often [2000]. Later (December 2000) another contributor wrote, "Friends of mine call it the 'blob.' They say, 'I am on the blob' or 'I have got the blob.'" In March 2003 an e-mailer wrote,"I'm a 17-year-old caucasian and live in London, England. A lot of the teenage boys I know use the term 'on the blob' to mean on your period. All the girls I know don't like it, so the guys generally say it to irritate us whenever we are 'on the blob'. Its mainly people from London and the North of England that tend to say it." See also Blobbling and Mousehouse.
[The] painters and decoraters are in see Blowjob time
Phasing see Blowjob time
Red fairy "I didn't see this one but then I may have missed it. That is quite an impressive collection! 'Red fairy' (my friend in England uses it). I always say 'phew' In other words, thank whomever that I am not pregnant. I have enough kids!" (December 2006)
Red flag day See "On blob," above (November 2000)
[The old] Red rose "Dear Mr. HF, I found your site while researching cups for a particularly long road trip my partner and I are planning. Although I haven't really looked around much (been 'stuck' on the euphemisms page for ages!), I think it's a brilliant resource for first-timers and golden oldies, alike, so well done you. My partner and I would like to contribute a euphemism or two. He came up with 'The old Red Rose,' Rose being another word for vagina. Also, I know of 'Red Rum. Red Rum.' from Stephen King's The Shining, red being an obvious reference to blood, and it's also very fitting of a girl's desire to commit murder at those times! Plus the river of blood on the stairwell always reminds my of my Womanlies! I just wanted to share a little story also, because I think your site has just solved a decade's old mystery for me. I used to travel by bus to school, and one day a 'friend' - I say 'friend' because she was quite obviously trying to set me up to look foolish in front of the older girls - invited me to sit on the prestigious back seat. So then she proceeded to bombard me with questions about sex and periods, one of which was "Can/Do I come in a car?" Now, knowing that no matter what I said, I was probably in for some sort of ridicule, I replied very carefully, "I go to school on a bus." Peels of laughter ensued, not sure whether in reference to the B.U.S. [see the American section, above], or because it was completely obvious that I had no clue what was being asked really. Having read through most of your Words for Menstruation page, I think I have finally worked out, that they were asking if I had sex while on my period. I saw the phrases: Granny came in a red Ferrari, and My Aunt parked her red Porsche outside [both in the South Africa section]; and it finally clicked into place. Obviously, being almost 30 now, I've since lost touch with said 'friend' and can't - not sure I would, if I had the chance either - ask her what she meant, but maybe someone else has some idea of what 'Come in a car' actually means [E-mail if you know]. Thanks for helping me while away a red afternoon, **** 28, Hampshire, UK." (May 2008)
[The] Reds are playing at home see Blowjob time
She's got the painters in (used mainly by males) the male contributor writes, "As you develop your site and your research, it would be interesting to try to identify slang words and phrases used mainly by men and those used mainly by women, to see how they differ." Good idea! (2001)
Taking her first steps down the path to becoming a woman "I was recently sent an email by a British lady who explained that she couldn't phone me because of a family crisis. 'My young daughter was taking her first steps down the path to becoming a woman.' Strangely enough however gentle and poetic this phrase it freaked me out. Perhaps because I am a biologist and prefer to be open about bodily functions. My problem. I also thoroughly dislike some of the common and earthier American phrases ('on the rag') etc. I am amazed by the diversity, and amused by the inventiveness, of your list." He later wrote, "I was just listening to your interview on the web. Here is something you might consider but may, I think, be too controversial. I assure you I am a professional biologist and I have considered this subject over many years. I have also mentioned it to many girlfriends and proved it to their satisfaction on several occasions. I can detect when some ladies are having a period. I will call it a 'smell' but it isn't - it is not unpleasant but it is distinct - it is a 'feeling' - a tickle - like a sneeze on the way in my nose/nasal area. I have been able to do it all my life (although when I was young I didn't know what it was). I assumed that everybody could do it. The most common time it happens is at the check-out at the supermarket. I can only do it with about 10% or less of females. To give an example - I walked into an office where my girlfriend was working and my nose tickled. Later I said to her "Of course you were all having your period." She was appalled - but I explained my ability and she admitted that all the girls (4) in the office had synchronised their cycles. Although I could not detect hers I could detect one or more of the other ladies. Here is the interesting thing. I have never dated a lady who's period I could detect in this way. I am, somehow, 'put-off' by ladies whose cycle I could detect. Furthermore, I could do it with my mother - "You smell funny!" (no sisters). The possible biological explanation of this is actually quite well established. Many mammals select mates that are 'different' - it is a form of out-breeding (to avoid in-breeding depression). The argument is that breeding with mates that have a very similar immune-systems will detrimental to the off-spring. It is known in several mammals that this outbreeding to avoid similarity in HLA antigens is done by smell. Be assured that I am not talking about incest here - in the population of human females some, by chance, will have similar HLA antigens to me and it would be advantageous if I avoided mating with them. I offer you this as an observation. I wonder if any other males can do it? (March 2010)
Tammy's here "Tammy being slang for a tampon," writes the contributor of many expressions; see Blowjob time (October 2003)
Terms see Courses
The Red Baron's coming in to land "Refers to Baron von Richthofen, a legendary and much-feared World War I German air ace who flew a red tri-plane. I heard the phrase used by an English woman to her husband a couple of years ago." (November 2001)
[The] sock is here "My friends and I sometimes say 'The sock is here' because when I first started, I once complained that it felt like I had a sock trapped in my underwear," writes an English 14-year-old. (April 2006)
Those see Courses
Trooping the Colour see Manchester United are playing at home

That time of the month "My best mate calls it 'TTOM' - basically 'That time of the month,' except she always abbreviates it. Another mate is a fan of Clueless & calls it 'Surfing the crimson wave' (but u have that one). Another mate is really subtle about the whole period thing (NOT!) & has a habit of shouting across the classroom, 'Are you on?,' normally in the middle of an argument & when the other person storms off, she sits there saying 'I knew she was!' One of my mates (who is blonde & a little ditzy!) was trying get change for the tampon machine & was asking around & someone said, "Oh, you need to use *that* machine(!)," she replied, "No, I need change for the tampon machine!" - unfortunately she wasn't joking. P.S. A note to any girls my age who are still using pads: don't be scared of using tampons. I was, but when I started using them a year ago, I've never switched back to pads. Tampons are *so* much easier! Luv, *** 15 (nearly 16) years old. UK
Tummy trouble "By accident, I came across your site and offer an answer to 'Would you give up menstruation?' and three English euphemisms: My late wife during a protracted illness found that her menstrual flow had dried to a trickle. She once cried to me, 'Oh David, I wish I could have a proper period!' Her euphemism for her monthly period was 'tummy trouble' and I think some of her friends (in Southern England) used it. During my National Service, I became aware that many men crudely referred to the state as 'having the rags on,' whilst a girl friend of that time (1949) said that her 'country cousins had arrived.' Hope these add to the sum total of human knowledge about that mysterious, wonderful - but messy condition." (September 2004)
Womanlies see Red rose
Womb juice "I used to refer to it as 'Womb Juice' to my husband, or 'Leaking womb juice'. It came after a conversation where milk was 'udder juice'". (February 2014)
Women's problems see Blowjob time


Entries with * sent from a woman, March 2006.

Äksyt päivät being-mean days, "refers to PMS," writes the sender of Minulla on kuukautiset, Ne and Mondikset . . . (January 2002)
Alkaako kalle Does Kalle start? "Hi! Our drummer Salli (17) [the e-mail is from a band in Finland that specializes in menstrual music, and finds writing the tune more difficult than writing the words; read their letter on the 28 July 2003 news page] remembered some other expressions: Moonikset (it's just one version of mondikset, menkat, etc. I've heard only my almost 50-year-old mother using it but surely everybody understands it. Personally I hate this word.) Mulla on kalle (I have Kalle [a common boy's name] /Alkaako kalle (does Kalle start) / En mä voi kun kalle tulee (I can't, because Kalle is coming.) These I haven't heard before. I guess young people use them.) Come to think of it it's actually pretty weird why there are so few euphemisms for menstruating in Finnish. Or then me and my friends just don't know them. I'll let you know if I hear something new. Outi (at the bottom of the e-mail is Tehään vaikka vallankumous, mutta syyään eka) (July 2003)
Bad Moon Risin* "Refers to the CCR song, self-explaining."
En mä voi ku'n kalle tulee see Alkaako kalle
Hanna-täti käymässä*"'Aunt Hanna is visiting'. The female thing."
Hedelmällisyystesti* "'The fertility test'. Having periods equals being fertile. Medical student expression."
HIFK pelaa tänään* "'HIFK (Helsinki IFK) plays today'. Female hockey slang. The colour of team HIFK is red."
Hilloviikot "The jam weeks'. Strawberry jam is red."
Hullun lehmän tauti*"'Mad cow disease'. Male expression, very derogatory."
Huoltopäivä*"'The overhaul day'. Male expression."
Japanin lippu salossa* "'Japanese flag on pole'. Red ball on white field. Conversely, the Japanese flag is sometimes derogatorily referred as 'panty shield'".
Kausihuolto* "'The periodical overhaul'. Heard from a female engineer."
Ketsuppiviikko* "'The Ketchup Week'. 'You'll get ketchup on your beef' said to overtly anxious boyfriend."
Lappu luukulla* "'Notice on the booth'. Refers to panty shields on vagina, implying 'no service today'".
Liputuspäivä*"'The flag-flying day'. Flags are flown as expression of special occassions."
Kukintapäivä* "'The blooming day'; literally 'day of pushing flowers'. Roses are red, violets blue . . . ."
Kuukautiset*"Literally 'the monthlies'. The everyday and medical expression for having menstruation."
Kalle* "A male name (same as English name Charles). Usually with lowercase, 'kalle'".
Känkkäränkkäpäivä* "'Troublemaker day'. 'Känkkäränkkä' = troublemaker, rhymes with 'menkka.'"
Menkat, menskat, mensut*: "Short from 'menstruaatio' (menstruation). Neutral expression."
Menkkapäivät* "Composed from 'menkka' (short from 'menstruaatio') and 'päivät' (days)"
Menkkaränkkäpäivä* "A variation of Känkkäränkkäpäivä"
Minulla on kuukautiset "This is the formal way to say I have my periods," writes the contributor. "I'm a 19-year-old female and I live in Finland. I found your Web site address from a Finnish womens magazine. It was interesting to find out how many ways there are in the world to say that 'I have my period.'" This contributor also sent Äksyt päivät, Mondikset . . ., and Ne. (January 2002)
Mondikset, menkat aka mensut, punaiset päivät, rättiviikko, retuviikko, vuotopäivät, sidepäivät all mean "period," writes the contributor of Minulla on kuukautiset, Äksyt päivät and Ne. "These are the words that I can remember, but I know that there are a lot more of them. I was suprised that there weren't any Finnish words in your Web site. I guess there aren't many Finnish women who know about your Web site, which is really unfortunate. But I will send you some more of these when I get to know some more. Your Web site is wonderful. Keep up the good work :). Greetings from Finland." (January 2002)
Mondikset* "From Swedish 'månad', month. The monthly thing."
Moonikset see Alkaako kalle
Moonikset* "From English 'moon'. The monthly thing."
Mulla on kalle see Alkaako kalle
Munia* "'To lay eggs'. Eggs are chickens' periods."
Nähdä punaista* "Literally 'to see red'. Both to concretely see blood and to be easily irritated."
Naisen paras ystävä women's best friend, from the contributor of Alkaako kalle (July 2003)
Ne It, from the contributor of Minulla on kuukautiset, etc.
Ne* "Literally 'those'. The unspeakable thing."
Ne päivät* "'Those days'. The unspeakable days."
Olla hainsyöttinä*"'To be shark bait'. Sharks have keen taste on blood. Swimmeresses' expression."
Öljynvaihto*"'Oil change'. Male expression referring to automobiles."
Pahat päivät* "'The nasty days'. Self-evident."
Pulmapäivät* "Literally 'the troubled days'. Euphemistic expression."
Punaiset päivät*"'The red days'. Compare 'nähdä punaista.'"
Punkkupäivät "'Plonk days'. Word 'punkku' (plonk) refers to cheap red wine."
Puolukkapäivät lingonberry days "Well, lingonberries are red and common in Finland. I think that this is mostly used by not very old women and I think that most of people know what it means," writes the Finnish contributor. (March 2002)
Pyykkipäivät* "'The laundry days.' Self-explaining."
Rasti almanakassa* "'The check mark in calendar'. Usually male expression."
Rättiviikot* "Rag weeks. Refers to menstruational pads."
Saban kuningatar käymässä* "'The Queen of Sheba is visiting". Refers to menstrual pad trademark Saba."
Se aika kuusta* "'That time of the month'. The unspeakable stint."
Sinusta ei tullut isää* "'You didn't become a father'. Usually said to uneasy boyfriend."
Teepussipäivät* "'Tea bag days'. Refers to tampons."
Tytön paras kaveri* "'Girl's best friend'. No more having periods means you are no more fertile."
Vuoto "Literally 'the leak'".

In Flemish

It's time to flush see Earning your red wings in the America section


(A French male contributed, commented upon and translated the words with an asterisk (*).

J'ai les Anglaises see Nosebleed under the category England, above
La moment de la lune
A contributor from the United Kingom writes, "I don't know if this is spelt right, but when I was in school we had a French exchange student over. One day she came up to me in the toilets and asked if I had anything, for (she did not know the English word) her 'la moment de la lune' (which translates as 'the moment of the moon'), I guessed what she meant although I had not heard the phrase before, and it has always stuck with me." (October 2003)
La saison des fraises "I'm from France and I thought I could give a little contribution to the 'Words and Expressions' list. My boyfriend always refers to the menses as "la saison des fraises," which is I guess very similar to Strawberry Jam Time. The accurate translation would be Strawberry Season." (October 2005)
Le débarquement des Malouines
the contributor wrote, "Dans les années 83-84, on disait entre adolescentes (et adolescent): le débarquement des Malouines en références à la guerre des Malouines." A Frenchwoman living in Canada kindly translated it: "During the years 83-84, we used to say among us teenagers, the debarkment to the Falklands, in reference to the Falkland war." (March 2001)
Le sorbet aux mûres de Mathieu A French woman writes, "We and some friends used to say 'Le sorbet aux mûres de Mathieu' which means 'Matthew's blackberry ice cream,' since one day one of our friends called Mathieu had made blackberry ice cream and when it started melting, it just looked like blood and endometrium and with the other girl we looked at each other just thinking the same thing. Since then, we have used that term. One of my friends (a boy) used to call the periods 'Les petits indiens' (the little Indians) for an unknown reaseon. We also say "Les reds arrivent," using the English term. An old term used in France (but not anymore to my knowledge) was "Voir" (to see). For example, a women who had not had her periods for a while would say "Je ne vois plus depuis . . . ." "I have not seen since . . . ." (February 2006)
Les anglais sont arrivés! "Expression 'Les anglais sont arrivés!' meaning, 'I just got my period.' Used in France by women. My translation: 'The English have arrived!' The 'red-coat' description given by one of your other contributors makes sense to me, but I don't know the origin for sure." (January 2006)
Les Anglais ont débarqué* "In the French section, the expression 'les anglais ont débarqué': it is used all over Marie-Antoinette's (wife of Louis XVI, both decapitated during the revolution) correspondance with her mother." (January 2006) Another contributor writes: "Quite old-fashioned; it means literally that 'the English navy has arrived,' thus linking France's age-old enemy with menstrual blood," says the French contributor.
But an Australian writes (September 2000), "I noted the French phrase 'Les anglais ont debarque,' which you say links menstrual blood with the age-old enemy of the French. In fact, I believe that the 'les anglais' are mentioned here not because they are the enemy of the French but because they wore red jackets, the 'redcoats.' For what it's worth, I believe that the English wore red so that the enemy couldn't see the blood on their jackets if they were wounded."
Les ours* literally, "The bears." ("Don't ever ask me the origin of that one," says the contributor.)
Les petits indiens see Le sorbet aux mûres de Mathieu
Les reds arrivent see Le sorbet aux mûres de Mathieu
Pattes à cul or patacul the contributor said, "Pour designer les serviettes hygièniques, les 'pattes à cul' ou 'patacul,' je ne sais pas comment l'écrire." A French woman living in Canada translates it as "To refer to the hygienic pads, the 'sextab,' I don't know how to spell it." She comments further, "I've never heard the . . . words that this fellow country person of mine mentions!" (March 2001)
Ragnagnas the contributor wrote, "Autrement, plus gentil, les ragnagnas, qui dénote l'état grognons dans lequel on se trouve pendant ses menstruations." The translator, a Frenchwoman living in Canada, renders it so: "Otherwise, a nicer one is the ragnagnas, which underlines the cranky mood of the menstruation time." The translator continues, "I would say that 'ragnagnas' is fairly common; it is a variation on 'ragnes' that you mention on this site and has some humorous connotations. I believe 'ragnagnas' might be more common than 'ragnes,' even though the proper name 'règles' is of course the most common of all." (March 2001)
Les ragnes* "Slangish word, adapted from 'règles,'"writes the contributor. [I know this is a coincidence, but the first three letters are what women used to use in many parts of the world - and still do.]
Les règles* rules or standards; compare the English word "to regulate." See the similar German word, below.
Tante Rose An Australian writes, "My mother is French and she always says 'Tante Rose,' which means Aunt Rose, as in, 'Is your Aunty Rose visiting?'" (January 2006)
Voir see Le sorbet aux mûres de Mathieu

French Canada (Quebec)

(*a woman in Quebec sent these, and which, she said, "we used when I was a teenager.")

Avoir ses affaires* (January 2001)
Elle est dans ses crottes* she is in her shit "Men said this to each other talking about a woman who is menstruating or who is in bad humour, a very vulgar expression" (January 2001)
être indisposée* (January 2001) German and American also use similar expressions
Etre menstruée to be menstruating" (May 2009)
Etre sur ma semaine / avoir ma semaine being on the week of your period (May 2009)
Les Allemands sont en ville* the Germans are in town, "in reference at the last world war probably" (January 2001)
Le général rouge est en ville* the red general is in town (January 2001)
Les chutes Niagara* "meaning it was abundant" (January 2001)


(b=from Die unpäßliche Frau; book information is at the bottom of this page). Harry Finley translated the words.
In April 2001 a German e-mailed about these expressions:
Dear Mr. Finley!
When I first visited your Web site of menstruation I was very impressed that there are so many expressions for the worst days in women's life. But what you wrote about German expressions is not really "funny." The German expressions are not the words young people would use one week a month. I am German and I think that the expressions are those of some adults. Well, the mostly used words in Germany are all translated from the American or Canadian expressions (like "riding on the red wave"). So please complete the list of German expressions!
Greetings from Germany

Auslaufmodell discontinued item "Ein Begriff zwischen meinem Freund und mir, da ich 'auslaufe,' aber hoffentlich nicht wirklich ein 'Auslaufmodell' bin (Teekesselchen)." My translation: "A term between me and my boyfriend, because I leak, but I hope I'm not really a discontinued item (little tea pot)." "Auslaufen" can mean "leak" and "become discontinued," as, for example, a tea pot. (January 2004)
Der rote König the red king Germaine Greer is quoted as attributing this to German girls in The Female Eunuch by an American folklorist. (February 2002)
Die Blume
the flower; used also in English (b)
Die Roten kommen the reds are coming (b)
Eine Strafe Gottes A Dutch writer interviewed women (and me too) for a forthcoming book about menstruation, among whom this woman: "A German lady, a restaurant keeper, I have interviewed, calls menstruation 'Eine Strafe Gottes': A punishment of God. Maybe you can use it for your list. And have you ever seen this funny sketch of The Frantics? I did not found
the link on your website, so maybe you have missed it (although I can hardly imagine you missing anything...) " (September 2011)
Es ist wieder rote Woche "It's red week again." German woman, 34, childless, from Hamburg sent this and Seine Gescgichte haben. She is favorably disposed towards menstruation, according to her e-mail. (July 2002)
Ich habe ein Kind umgebracht I killed a baby see Japanishe Woche
Ich habe mein Zeug "Hello Mr. Finley. Visiting your very interesting homepage, I recognized that most of the German expressions you have listed are somewhat ordinary or dated, (of course, some are also very funny, especially 'Japanische Wochen') and that there aren't really many. So I thought I might contribute. My mum normally says: Ich habe mein Zeug [I'm having my stuff]. Some friends and I used during our school-days Bauchkrämpfe haben [to have stomach cramps]. Auf Schmerzmittel sein [to be on pain killers] for the painful days. Fliegen [to fly], Fallschirm springen [to parachute]: Both terms are from jokes: 'Why is the blonde jumping from the 10th floor? She is testing the wings of the new "Always ultra"! Why shouldn't blondes skydive when they are "having their days"? They could pull the wrong string!' When in a more bloody mood, we would use Blutzoll zahlen [to pay the blood tax], Blutrache/Vendetta or sometimes die Damenhygieneartikelindustrie unterstützen [to support the feminine hygiene industry]. Lesezeichen basteln [to make bookmarks] (there's an advertisement on TV where a woman pours out a blue fluid on a sanitary towel, and to demonstrate the quality of it, she uses it as a bookmark). Zeitung lesen [to read the newspaper] (I had Spanish as an elective, and there were pupils (all girls) of all ages in it. We had to think of some cribs for the vocabulary and one of the older girls said, 'Periódico, Zeitung, wie deine Periode, kommt hoffentlich immer regelmäßig.' [The newspaper, like your period, always comes ,we hope, regularly.] The teacher was very young, and seemed very embarrassed. Today, I usually use ich habe meine Tage/Periode/Regel. [I have my days, period.] Feel free to use any of these idioms on you site, but I won't be mad at you if you choose not to do it. I hope my English wasn't too bad - please ignore the bad spelling and wrong grammar, I didn't do it on purpose. So, now I'm exploring a bit more of your pages." (March 2006)
Ihren Kram haben to have your trash (b)
Ihre Sache haben to have your thing (b)
Ihre Zeit haben to have your time (b)
I'm working on something see You're homemade
Indisponiertsein to be indisposed (b)
Japanische Woche Japanese week "because of the red circle (period) on the Japanese flag," writers the German e-mailer. She also contributed die Waldbeerfrau kommt, ich habe ein Kind umgebracht, and tralala! (July 2004)
Katamenien catamenia, a formal term used in medicine and in the menstrual products industry (b)
Kritische Tagen critical days; see usage in an ad for Spalt-Tabletten, 1936
Menses menses (b)
Monatliche Blüte
monthly blossom or flower (b)
Monatliche Botschaft monthly message (b)
Monatliche Reinigung monthly cleaning (b)
Monatsblutungen monthly bleeding
Monatliche Blödigkeit monthly stupidity (b)
Monatlicher Zoll monthly tax (b)
Ölwechsel "Hi! I've got a contribution for the Word for Menstruatioin page: (As I'm German so are the words.) My father always calls it 'Ölwechsel' (changing of oil) and tampons and such 'Putzwolle' (cleaning wool/fleece). Between my mom and me it's usually the famous 'visitor'; even though ours has no name it is not less unwelcome." The writer also unforgettably contributed to Would you stop menstruating if you could? under "A girl in Germany conveys her teacher's memorable opinion." (November 2013)
Putzwolle see Ölwechsel
literally, rules or standards; compare the English word "to regulate." See the similar French word, above.
Rosenblüte rose blossom (b)
Rote Tante red aunt (b)
(die) Schweinerei haben to have the mess "Schwein" means "pig." Oswalt Kolle, a German sexual educator, said the following in an interview on Spiegel Online, the Web site of Germany's main news magazine, Der Spiegel (30 May 2002): "You know, when I was young - in the 50s and 60s - parents didn't teach their children about sex. They warned them. As soon as a young girl started to menstruate the mother said, 'Now you too have the mess - now you may not kiss a boy.' That was the typical statement. When I wrote my books and made my films I received thousands of letters. The desire to learn something about sexuality was enormous. And I'm proud that today we can talk about everything." That's my (Harry Finley's) translation of "Wissen Sie, zu meiner Zeit - in den fünfziger, sechziger Jahren - haben die Eltern ihre Kinder nicht aufgeklärt, sie haben sie gewarnt. Sobald ein junges Mädchen die Menstruation bekam, sagte die Mutter: 'Jetzt hast du die Schweinerei auch, jetzt darfst du keinen Jungen mehr küssen'. Das war der typische Satz! Als ich dann meine Bücher schrieb und meine Filme zeigte, bekam ich Tausende von Zuschriften. Das Bedürfnis, etwas über Sexualität zu lernen, war riesig. Und ich bin stolz darauf, dass man heute über alles reden kann."
Seine Geschichte haben "to have one's story," as in "I'm having my story." German woman, 34, childless, from Hamburg sent this and Es ist wieder rote Woche. She is favorably disposed towards menstruation, according to her e-mail. (July 2002)
Tage haben to have your days
Tante Rosa kommt "Hi, I just found your website and love it! My contribution for the German section is 'Tante Rosa kommt' (Aunt Rose is coming), which would be the Germany equivalent to Aunt Flo. I loathe such euphemisms, but it is often used in everyday speech. Oh, and one more thing: The first entry in the German section uses the expression 'Teekesselchen,' which means 'little teapot.' It is an expression used for two words that are literally the same but have different meanings, such as 'ball' (which can be a spherical object used for games or a dancing event). 'Teekesselchen' is a children´s game where two children each try to describe their word, always starting with the same figure of speech: 'Mein Teekesselchen ist rund.' ('My teapot is round' - in this case meaning the ball as a sports utensil) The other one then would say: 'Mein Teekesselchen findet meist abends statt.' ('My teapot often talks place at night' - meaning the ball as a dancing event). The other children have to guess what the word is. The contributor referred to the word 'Auslaufmodell' as a Teekesselchen, because 'auslaufen' can mean 'to flow' or 'be discontinued.' I don't think she referred to an actual teapot. Cheers, **** (35, from Hamburg, Germany)" (January 2007)
Tante Rosa kommt aus Amerika Aunt Rose is coming from America (b)
Tralala! see Japanische Woche
Unpäßliche sein to be indisposed (b)
Unwohlsein not being well (b)
Visit from Moscow "Dear Mr Finley, First of all, I would like to thank you for your interesting site and all the work you invested in. I`ve got a proposal for your section 'Words and expressions for menstruation around the world.' I was raised in the GDR and we used the impression 'Visit from Moscow,' which was both, ironically and politically incorrect. Have a great weekend and best regards from Berlin, *****" (August, 2010)
Visitor see Ölwechsel
(die) Waldbeerfrau kommt the cranberry woman is coming see Japanische Woche
You're homemade "The first time my German ex saw me naked with tampon inserted he said, 'Oh, you're homemade!' Referring, of course, to the string left at the end of any scarf or cap or knicknack lovingly knitted or crocheted by one's Oma [grandmother]. That turned into, 'I'm working on something' as our euphemism. He was from the Frankfurt/Main area, would be in his mid-40s now." (January 2005)

Great Britain

See England, Scotland and Wales


Ehis ta rouha sou? (spelled phonetically by the American contributor), "Do you have your clothes?" The American contributor wrote, "I am of Greek ancestry and my mother uses what seems a very odd expression when asking me whether I am on the rag or not. It is 'ehis ta rouha sou?' (spelled phonetically), which literally means 'Do you have your clothes?' Now, don't ask me where that expression comes from and what the symbolism behind the reference to clothes is, though if I had to guess, it probably has something to do with women's actual use of a rag cloth when menstruating. Just a guess, though." (December 2000)


Megjött "In Hungary, we use the following terms for menstruation: 'Megjött' - it has arrived ('it' referring to 'menstruation'). This is I think the most widely used one, though I've heard of a young woman who was so embarrassed that she referred to it only as 'the red.' Menstruáció - 'menstruation' is also widely used, even my grandmother used this to ask me 15 years ago if I already had my period. My boyfriend and I also use the equivalent of 'out of order' and 'closed for maintainance' as one of your American contributors, and I also use the 'good news!' announcement. On the German part of your homepage you have a lot of poetic expressions, but in Switzerland (German speaking part), you just say: Ich han mini Periode (Ich habe meine Periode) - I have my period. I've also heard the following: 'D'Russe chömed' (Die Russen kommen) - 'The Russians are coming.' I've been living abroad for the last ten years, so I don't know how much this one is used now :-)
Menstruáció see Megjött


Baith Jana "I am giving three words from Indian language (Hindi). Baith Jana - Baith means sit and means that I am sitting for 3 days. According to Hindu religious practices women who are having their periods cant enter kitchen for 3 days and temples for 4 days. Mahwari - Monthly. Maasik Dharm - Monthly flow." [The contributor later wrote this:] "I am giving some incidents regarding my early years. In Hindus the girls during their periods don't enter the kitchen or touch the materials associated with worship of gods. (Nowadays with nuclear families this ritual is done away with by some families). When I was 8-10 years old I used to ask my mom and elder sisters for water, food etc. and they refused saying ask grandma or the servant. When I asked them why can't they give it to me. They said the crow has touched them and they can't enter the kitchen for 3 days. This happened every month until I asked them why doesn't the crow touch me even once but touches them every now and then." (March 2009)
BBC "My husband Say BBC and BBS meaning Bloody Battle Start and Bloody Battle Stopped. I am **** from Bangalore, India" (May 2003)
Casual leave "'Out of Doors' is a very common term used in India becos of religious reasons, as many Hindu families women are isolated during Period. 'Those 3 days' and 'Casual leave' are also frequently used terms amongst girls in India. These are very common words used in India for period though it may not be very creative; this is what we all used to say. In India friends generally discuss these though we are conservative. I am now not in India and I wanted to know how people of other culture see them so that I don't embarrass myself and this site has revealed a lot. -An Indian Girl." (June 2003)
Chums "I grew up in several Indian cities in eighties and nineties, and at least in urban English speaking school girls/ college students, themost common term was 'chums' as in 'I have my chums',  also used as a verb: as in 'I'm chumming'. Boys tended to be puzzled by this, but later figured it out as they got older [or acquired girlfriends]. My friends and I still use this most commonly, and I call my cramps 'chum pains'.  Another expression I've heard older (including sometimes non-English speaking women) from my mother's generation use is "MC" (for menstrual cycle) said furtively under one's breath, occasionally corrupted to "M seal," which is a brand of sealant used by plumbers for sealing leaks in pipes and faucets! ST is the urban Indian's code for a pad -- from Sanitary Towel."(February 2012)
Crow has touched them see Baith Jana
M Seal see Chums
Maas Month (in Hindi) see OD
Maasik Dharm see Baith Jana
Mahwari see Baith Jana
MC see Chums
Mense An ethnic Indian woman living in Canada writes, "When I was in Assam, a state in the North-East of India, my aunts and cousins used the term 'having mense.' (The word 'mense' was said in English). A more old fashioned term for menstruation is a word which means quarantine. Hindi is the national language of India, but India has 25 states, and each of them has a local language (and local cultural norms). The language spoken in Assam is Assamese, and the word for quarantine in Assamese is 'swa.' It is not used scientifically, the way the word 'quarantine' is in English. It's used in situations where a person is traditionally supposed to be isolated. Usually, people use it to refer to menstruation, when women were not supposed to cook, but I've also heard people use it to refer to a mother of a newborn, and her baby (traditionally, they were supposed to stay in the house and not meet any people until the baby was 30 days old). Also, when an immediate family member passes away, Hindu's are not supposed to enter temples for a year (I understand that this is not a sign of uncleanliness, but an expression of mourning). When explaining why you're not going to the temple, you might say that you have 'swa.' This is an explanation of the word, as I understand it. I am not completely fluent in Assamese myself, and I have not lived permanently in Assam (or any part of India), but I visit there often and I can get by in the language. I don't know how the word 'mense' became part of the language in India, but it might be because many schools there are actually taught in English. It's interesting to note that there is a traditional word in Assamese that refers specifically to menstruation, but I've never heard it used in conversation (and, unfortunately, I don't know what it is). My parents were born and brought up in India, but I have always lived abroad. I do try to be as knowledgeable as possible about Indian culture, but I wouldn't know as much as somebody living there. I hope this helps." (July 2004)
Not at home (in Tamil language households) contributed by the contributor of OD (below). She writes,"Thank u for ur amazing website. I laughed and laughed and felt good after having the PMS blues today! Here goes a Tamil (language spoken in the South of India) 'classic' joke. In Tamil, the code for mom having periods is 'not at home' (poorly translated to out-of-doors). Anyways, owing to the segregation criterion in some orthodox families, it is common for mom to be in a seperate room of her own and her visitors being told that she is 'not at home'. But we kids thought dad was being rude telling such a lie! So we upped our voices and said, 'But she is in the guest room'!" (December 2005)
Number three "Hi. Stumbled upon your site and think it's great! My mother and her sisters from India call menstruation 'number three,' 'number one' being shorthand for urination and 'number two' being shorthand for defecation. Please keep my name anonymous!" The writer later added, "Glad to hear that you get a kick out of it too. They say it mostly in English, but also use the Tamil words for one, two and three. I'm not sure which way the terminology started. FYI, Tamil is the language spoken in the region around Madras (Chennai)." (August 2004)
OD Out of doors submitted by the writer of the e-mail that explains some Indian menstruation ritual, 23 December 2005 news page. See also Not at home, above. (December 2005)
Out of Doors see Casual leave
She can not "Hi, I am from Assam, India. I grew up in a Muslim family. But the surrounding was mostly Vaishnavite Hindus. In my family we used the words 'she is not well,' which means she is having her periods. And our Hindu friends used to say 'she can not' to mean the same thing. In my family and in most of the Muslim families it was a hush hush thing, nobody said it openly in front of others that someone is having her periods. But the Hindu families were quite open about it. But the women of their families were exempted from household chores during the days of menstruation because a menstruating woman was thought to be 'unclean' . But in Muslim families they could go on with their life as usual. Regards, ****" (February 2008)
She is not well see She can not
ST see Chums
Swa quarantine see Mense
The Red Snow
"Hello, I am 22 years old and from Michigan [U.S.A.]. I read long ago in the Kama Sutra (which is Indian) menstruation being referred to as 'The Red Snow.' I've always thought that to be quite beautiful and will never forget it. :)" (October 2001)
Theetu (Tamil language) see OD
Those three days see Casual leave


Indians are visiting "I actually found your website because I was googling for the origins of a 'code word' my Persian (Iran) wife and her cousin use. I didn't realize this 'coding' thing was common either, but several others have told their stories below, so here's another 'code': My wife and her cousin refer to their periods as 'Indians are visiting' or just 'Indians' - she says they picked this up from watching bootleg American westerns in Iran as kids. Scenes when the 'red Indians' would usually be bloody! So in our house it's 'Not tonight dear: Indians again.' Thanks for the collection, it's pretty hysterical (uh, that wasn't really supposed to be a pun. [Hysterical comes from the ancient Greek word for uterus.]) (December 2006) See also his contribution to humor (Vietnamese refugees story).


Aunty Mary "Just thought you would like some more contributions from Ireland. I am a man myself but I hear all the slang terms for everything. 'Aunty Mary' is used a lot or 'my Aunty Mary is visiting.' 'On the Rag' and 'Jam Rag' is used a lot particularly by men. One I like a lot signifies that the sufferer is not available for sex. It is 'up on blocks' - in other words, 'my wife is up on blocks'. Good luck with the site. Let me know if you are going to include these." (October 2003)
Cúrsaí "The 'standard' word in Irish is 'cúrsaí' which is hard to translate, but would equate to 'circumstances' or 'courses' or 'circuits,'" writes the contributor, who also sent Tá an t-ádh dearg orm. (January 2002)
In addition: Curse, the a woman e-mailed [for the American section, above] in November, 2000: "Where's 'the curse,' one of the most common of all?" But read this from a student of the Irish language (in Los Angeles): "I am fairly certain the term 'curse' may come from the Irish 'curse' - pronounced cursa, actually - meaning 'course' [see Courses, above] - it is a perfectly good word for menstruation and has no relation to being 'cursed.' Yes, it's true - it's in my Irish-English Dictionary. And many Irish-American women grew up with the term 'the curse' - I think it probably adds to the concept of the burden of womanhood - possbily dating back to Eve - but curse in Irish really means courses and applies to rivers, seasons, and other cyclical events as well." (August 2005)
I'm menstruating/ have my menstruations see I've got woman things
I'm not able to swim see I've got woman things
I got/have my friend see I've got woman things
I've got my flowers "Here are a few that are used in Ireland. 1 - 'I've got my preggers' (a corrupted form of pregnant). This is used because the bloating and breast discomfort you get can easily be confused with early signs of pregnancy! 2 - 'I've got my yokes' (yokes being abstract 'things') 3 - 'I've got my flowers.' Maybe this has more to do with the vile packaging that used to me on sanitary towels than anything to do with nature and flowering fruition!!! [It probably comes from the French "fluors," meaning flow. See Flowers in the America section, above.] 4 - 'In [?] on the rag' or 'jam-rag.' My mum told me this is from when they were young girls in the late 1950s and they had to use old bits of cloth and rags to use as towels. Only the rich had such luxuries as Maxi-pads!! I'm 31 from Dublin." (December 2005)
I've got my flows see I've woman things
I've got my preggers see I've got my flowers
I've got my yokes see I've got my flowers
I've got woman things/ the woman thing "Hi, I'm an Irish teenager and thought you'd like some more expressions used in Ireland. Most common are euphemisms like 'I've got woman things/the woman thing', 'I'm not able to swim', 'I've got my flows' or 'I've got my flowers.' Some men refer to menstruation as 'Munster playing at home' (a reference to the red colours employed by the Munster rugby team). In the Irish language menstruation is most commonly referred to as 'ta cursai mna agam' (I've got woman things- the word 'cursai' is ambiguous but generally means events). Also heard are 'I got/have my friend', 'I've the visitor' and 'I'm menstruating/ have my menstruations' is becoming quite popular when referred to in a kind of playful way. It also has to be pointed out that verbal flexibility is highly prized and phrases vary hugely from person to person." (April 2008)
I've the visitor see I've got woman things
Jam Rag see Aunty Mary
Liverpool's playing at home "In Ireland some people say 'Liverpool's playing at home,' referring to the English football sides bright red home jerseys. Another pretty vulgar one is to say 'I'm on the blob.'" (September 2002)
the contributor writes, "My grandmother, born in 1902 in rural Ireland, used to ask if 'Mary' was visiting." (May 2001)
Munster playing at home see I've got woman things
My Aunty Mary is visiting see Aunty Mary
On the jam-rag see I've got my flowers
On the Rag see Aunty Mary and I've got my flowers.
Tá an t-ádh dearg orm "When someone wants to say they are very lucky, the expression is 'Tá an t-ádh dearg orm,' literally, 'I have the red luck.' I heard this explained recently as one being very happy that she is not pregnant," writes the contributor of Cúrsaí." (January 2002)
Ta cursai mna agam see I've got woman things
Up on blocks see Aunty Mary


Kibalti I got "My grandmother used to simply call the period 'Stalin.' Very appropriate. My mom says it's obviously because Stalin was red. I think it's obviously because he was nasty. Another expression used back in my mother's day was 'mehurbenet,' which means 'shitty,' as in 'I'm shitty today.' I have no idea why this would be preferable to just saying one of the two explicit words ('veset' or 'mahzor,' which both mean 'period,' the second one used for other periodical events as well). Another very common expression is just to say 'kibalti,' which means 'I got,' short for 'kibalti veset' or 'kibalti mahzor,' without saying the dreaded words directly. These expressions are from Israel. And they are used by women (well, men would use the two official words, but only if they are at gun point :)." (June 2006)
Mahzor see Kibalti
Mehurbenet see Kibalti
Stalin see Kibalti
Veset see Kilbalti


NB: "****, Venice" is a woman linguist who has hugely developed this Italy section. Thanks from your MUM!

A xe cussì She is like this and Assea stàr, che a xe cussì Don't bother her, for she is like this: "It is not Italian but Venetian dialect. According to my grandmother, women of her age (80) prefer this expression. This idiom was mostly used in the sentence: 'Assea stàr, che a xe cussì': It was apparently used to tell people not to fuss with women having her periods and, I can imagine, so that those women were not asked to work in the fields." (****, Venice, 2004)
Avere il ciclo
to have the cycle "Medical term, the preferred one in advertisements." (from ****, Venice, 2004)
Avere il marchese to have the marquis and È arrivato il marchese (the marquis has arrived) Germaine Greer is quoted as attributing Il marchese to Italian girls in The Female Eunuch by an American folklorist. (February 2002). "The etymology seems to be the French slang word 'marquis,' which derived from 'marquer' (to mark). However, nowadays in modern Italian it really sounds like 'the marquis has arrived.' It is a jocular and a bit old-fashioned expression - we modern people prefer the cold and clean medical terms! According to my grandmother, who knows the corresponding forms in Venetian dialect, 'ver el marchese' and 'xe rivà el marchese,' it was mostly used by men." (****, Venice, Dec. 2003)
Avere il marco to have the mark "It sounds popular, jocular and old-fashioned. The etymology is undoubtedly the same as 'avere il marchese', but in modern Italian the word 'marco' is a first name, like the English Mark." (****, Venice, 2004).
Avere il menstruo/mestruo/mesturo, i mestrui to have menstruation "See la mia patatina; menstruo is old-fashioned and I have not found mesturo anywhere." (****, Venice, 2004)
Avere il periodo, avere il mio periodo to have the period, my period "Perhaps old fashioned," writes **** from Venice. (February 2004)
Avere la Bernarda insanguinata see La mia patatina
Avere la ragione to have the ratio "Archaic; in modern Italian it would sound like 'to have the reason' (****, Venice)." [Other languages use a similar word.]
Avere le baracche to have the slums "A very, very cute expression coming from Turin!" writes **** from Venice. (February 2004)
Avere le mestruazioni to have menstruation "Medical term, but it still arises some reaction in a non-familiar context." (****, Venice, 2004).
Avere le mie cose to have my things "Used by both men and women, writes the same contributor as Avere il Marchese.
Avere le regole' (della donna) to have the periods (of the woman) "I heard it in a film of the 60s, but I don't know if and where it is still used." (**** Venice, 2004)
Avere problemi tecnici to have technical problems "I usually use it when I have to give explanations if I don't go to the swimming pool with friends, etc. 'Scusa ma ho problemi tecnici' (Sorry, but I have technical problems)" (****, Venice) (March 2004)
Avere visite to have visitors But: 'avere una visita indesiderata' [to have an undesired visitor] = to get pregnant unwillingly (****, Venice, 2004)
Diventare signorina to become Miss "It is used to say that a girl has had her first menstruation. I think it is different from 'diventare una signorina' (to become a Miss), which actually means that a little girl has grown up and has acquired the behaviour of a woman. I remember my mother telling me that, when she was 11 or 12 she had her first menstruation, but since she hadn't had any sexual education she did not understand what was going on. She obviously worried and went to ask my grandmother. Her answer was 'You have become Miss, now you must stop washing your hair in those days' :))" From **** from Venice. (February 2004)
Essere ciclata
to be cycled "Heard by Luciana Littizzetto, a humorist very famous in Italy. Then I think it is a joke. It makes me think of a bicycle :) Thank you very much for your site. At least I have the feeling that my research is useful :))" ****, Venice (February 2004)
Essere indisposta
to be sick "I heard it used by women from Southern Italy." (****, Venice, 2004. Cfr. De Mauro)
La mia patatina m'ha sussurrato dolcemente che non sei papà My little potato [my vulva] sweetly whispers to me that you're not daddy."Hi! Mum is great! I'm 22, live in northeast Italy and my English is very bad - anyway: I say 'piove' ('it rains') referring to menstruation, so tampons become 'ombrelli' ('umbrellas'), but sometime, my friends (girls) and I call them also 'tappi' ('corks'). Some friends (male) of mine call them 'sigari' ('cigars'). When I had my period, I used to say to my ex: 'la mia patatina m'ha sussurrato dolcemente che non sei papà' ('my little potato - my vulva - sweetly whispers to me that you're not daddy'). I've also heard for menstruation: 'mestruo,' 'mesturo,' 'marchese,' 'ho la Bernarda insanguinata' ('Bernarda's bleeding'). If something else come into my head, I will write you again. Bye!" (June 2003).

**** from Venice writes: 'Avere la Bernarda insanguinata' [to have the 'Bernarda' bleeding] sounds like a gross joke to my ears. 'Bernarda' is a slang, vulgar expression, comparable to 'cunt' in English; so 'ho la Bernarda insanguinata' would sound like 'I have my cunt bleeding.' I cannot imagine a woman saying it, or anyway I would place this idiom on the same level as French-Canadian 'Elle est dans ses crottes' [She is in her shit], which is said to be used only by men. The word 'la patatina' [the little potato], instead, is jocular, and I heard it by women too.
Mestulazioni menstruation the male contributor, from Verona, writes, in part, "Register, if you please, the use of the popular degenerate form, by low cultural-level people, above all by women in the northeast of Italy, instead of the correct Italian, but difficult to pronounce, 'mestruazioni.' Classic!" (July 2001)

But, in January 2003, I received the following e-mail from an Italian woman (watch out, Italian men!):

We don't agree, because it's not so difficult to pronounce the correct term 'mestruazioni' in Italian! Some low cultural-level people sometimes may be wrong in the term, but thank God Italian males now allow us (women) to go to school in Italy, for 20 years almost; so now we can mention correctly terms, names about our body, with NO mistakes, such as 'far godere' ('to make pleasure') that our men (Italian lovers) can pronounce correctly but DON'T ABSOLUTELY KNOW how to realize and make in practice. [Ouch!]

So the correct pronunciation is NOT the most important thing, is it, dear male contributor from Verona? [But seemingly no gentleman.]

Anyway, great site


Then, in December 2003, a linguist e-mailed me another view:

"Hi! I'm having fun with this piece of research! I am a researcher in linguistics and sometimes deal with taboo words and euphemisms. I was born and have been living near Venice (North-East of Italy). I must say that 'mestulazioni' can be a real form. I was skeptical at first, but I've just discovered that my 80-year-old neighbours say (Venetian dialect) 'A ga a ministrasion,' which sounds like: 'She has her administration'!!! It is not rare that the non-educated layers of the population deform academic terms, because until World War II men and women of the lower classes used to go to school for five years or less. It was during the 1960s that mass higher education began. Then what that angry woman answered ('Our men have been letting us go to school for twenty years') is not true either.

"The first university graduated woman in the world was an Italian: Elena Piscopia Corner, a citizen of the Republic of Venice, was graduated doctor of philosophy at the University of Padua in 1678. And I personally know several women in their 80s, most of them of the upper bourgeoisie, who are graduated, and most of my girlfriends work as engineers. Italian women's initiative has long been inferior to that of American or Scandinavian, but I cannot conceive that the image of Italy abroad is stuck to the 1940's. Some of the beliefs I had to hear about Italy by foreign friends were the following: an Italian man is allowed to stop a unknown woman in the street and invite her for a coffee, while, of course, an Italian woman is denied every kind of initiative (?!); an Italian man usually beats his wife/girlfriend and if somebody tries to defend her, she would answer: 'Stop it, he is my boyfriend and has the right to beat me' (???); 'Why are Italian women not allowed to drive a car ?' (!!!) Dear readers, please come to Italy with your eyes cleaned of the stereotypes you watched on cinema and TV, and you'll have some chance to see reality.

"I suppose you have a section for superstition? I've learnt from a colleague from Sicily her belief that if a man makes love to a woman having her period, he is 'bewitched' and will be unable to leave her, ever. I've heard also from a friend from Basilicata, another region of Southern Italy, that there, menstrual blood was considered to have magical power and was used to make love filters. In the novel 'Cristo si è fermato a Eboli,' the reader can find reference to some superstition of the peasants of the time." (****, Venice, Dec 2003)

My uncle from the States has arrived "Well, I got my period when I was 16 years old and till that age I had been wondering why all my friends (female, of course) kept on sayng that once a month their uncle from the States arrived!! Yes, this is one of the most common expressions used in the town where I lived (Molfetta, South Italy). Precisely, the right expression is 'My uncle from the States has arrived'! Is there anyone (or any uncle from the States) who knows the origin of this saying? Thanx, L.T." (January 2006)
Ombrelli see La mia patatina
Piove it rains "Another very common phrase, used either by men and women," writes an Italian.
Sigari see La mia patatina
Tappi see La mia patatina
Ver el marchese see Avere il marchese
Ver i Venesiani To have the Venetians and 'Xe rivài i Venesiani' The Venetians have arrived "This is not Italian, but Venetian dialect and I have heard this used by my grandmum and I can suppose that it is not used by the inhabitants of the city of Venice!!! I guess it is modelled on 'È arrivato il marchese' and 'Avere il marchese,' because in the region of Venice, the inhabitants of the city were reputed to be great noblemen." (****, Venice, 2004).
Ver a ministrasion see Mestulazioni
Xe rivà el marchese see Avere il marchese


Are the police visiting? the contributor writes, "Hey, Just thought I'd add one.  I'm Canadian but my boyfriend is from Jamaica. Whenever I tell him we can't do 'anything' right now he says, 'Why, are the police visiting?' It cracks me up." (May 2012)
I'm having my lady's period.
"I can only think of two off the top of my head that I didn't see on the list. My Auntie from Jamaica is visiting. My Jamaican friend said this to me when I was at University and confused me no end: 'I'm having my ladies' period.' I don't know where I picked it up from, some comedy programme I think, but it's just how I often describe it. Ladies' period as opposed to . . . men's period? Oh, and of course during all this I will be wearing my period pants, the pairs of underwear that are grotty and falling to bits but are just right for period time. Thanks. Oh, I'm 30 and British." She later wrote, "Oh yes, I'm English. I grew up south of London and moved to the West Country when I was 11. I'm wondering what the correlation is between women visiting your Web site and when they're having their period. I'm finding it very interesting right now as I'm right in the middle of mine, but I've known of your museum for some time, so I wonder if the urge to actually visit the site is stronger at this time than any other!" (August 2004) Another woman e-mailed in January 2005: "I saw the entry under Jamaica for 'I'm having my ladies' period.' I don't know how recently the contributor heard that expression, but it was used in the BBC comedy series 'Red Dwarf,' I think by Rimmer, when he was pretending to be Christine Kochanski (sp?) ­ one of the reasons he got found out, as it was such a ridiculous expression."
Period pants see I'm having my lady's period.


My one period a Canadian writes, "I'd like to include this under Canadian and Japanese euphemisms. My Japanese friend refers to her period as 'My one period' and I found it so charming I never bothered to correct her (that she didn't need to use 'one'). So now we'll be chatting online and she'll write 'I feel tired - today I have my one period!' I love it!! I'm Canadian and while growing up, 'on the rag' or 'that time of the month' were most commonly used among my friends. My mum sometimes says 'Do you have your monthly?' which I noticed another contributor wrote. Nowadays I just call it my (one) period or 'crampies.'" (November 2004)

See also below in a non-alphabetical list for Japan

The only two expressions in Japanese for menstruation [but see a Japanese translator's many contributions, below] that I could find contain the interesting Kei, which might be just a phonetic and not reflect the component characters' meanings, as happens often in what someone called the most unnecessarily difficult language today.

But the character circled in red means "thread," and might relate to "rule," a word appearing in other languages (see the entries for French, German and Spanish on this page). But that seems far-fetched.

The familiar "moon" appears, as it does in the word "menstruation" in the form of "month," "menstruation" being a widely used word in the West.

See these characters used at the bottom of this page.

My information comes from "The Kanji Dictionary," by Spahn, Hadamitzky and Fujie-Winter (Tuttle, 1996).


"Water" gives an idea of flowing and appears with the character Kei, as above.

Strangely enough, the character for blood is missing in these expressions - but it's missing in the European word "menstruation." To me, menstruation is blood and is the, um, shocking thing about it. Isn't it odd that blood is missing from the most common expression in English and in Japanese? What is standard seems to be a euphemism. Germans do say Monatsblutung, but just catch someone in an Anglo-Saxon country, and probably Japan, saying "monthly bleeding" in public!


In researching the above expressions I found Gekka hyojin in the The Kanji Dictionary, a phrase I find hilarious. The only way I can interpret "ice person" is as an "ice breaker," but Japanese being what it is, it is undoubtedly something else. (A Japanese translator explains the expression, below.)




I'm attaching a GIF of all these expressions in the hope that you can put it to some use on your site [above].

Thanks, and keep up the good work! I'm really enjoying your site. :)


Nora Stevens Heath

Japanese-English translations:"

[She later added:]

Hi, again,

I'm glad you can use the Japanese contribution on the MUM site! It's a great resource, and I'm happy to be able to add to it.

The survey (in Japanese) is here:

It seems to have been sponsored by Kao, a company that manufactures the Laurier brand of sanitary pads (among many other products). I'd be happy to provide more info if you'd like to include it.

The entire survey, of which this is only a tiny part, is actually quite interesting. It reveals how Japanese women feel about their 'gekkei' (this term is used as the neutral, technical term throughout the survey), what their main physical complaints are, and so on. Maybe if there's a Japanese MUM in your future...? :)

As for the kanji [Japanese character] for 'go-between', well, I certainly can agree that 'under-moon ice person' doesn't sound like a traditional go-between to me! Apparently it's a mix of 'under-moon old person' and 'ice person', both of which denote 'go-between' and have their origins in China.

Here's the 'under-moon old person' story:

On his way to the palace, a traveler came across an old man sitting beside a bag, reading a book in the moonlight. There was a red cord in the bag, and the traveler asked the old man what it was. The old man replied that it bound two fates together by tying together the feet of a man and a woman who were to become husband and wife. He then proceeded to tell the traveler who he would marry. Fourteen years later, he married the same woman the old man had said he would.

And here's the 'ice person' story:

A fellow dreamed he was standing on ice and speaking with a person below it. He consulted a fortune-teller who told him that, because he was speaking from a yang place (above the ice) to someone in a yin place (below the ice), it foretold that he would become a matchmaker. Indeed, soon after he was called to be the go-between for his master's son.

So that explains things, in a way. I love researching the origins of words and expressions in just about any language. Now we've both learned something--and I know as soon as I dip back into the MUM site, I'll be learning things left and right. Thanks again for all the hard work you put into that terrific site!

Take care--


"Hi there,

I'm a Japanese translator and surprised to find 'gekkei' and 'keisui' listed on your site as 'standard' Japanese expressions for menstruation. Yes, 'gekkei' is the official term, like 'menstruation', but who uses it? Certainly the most common is the euphemism "seiri," which literally means "life logic," or "physiology." An online survey reveals that 82 percent of Japanese women surveyed say 'seiri,' while only 1 percent say 'gekkei.'

Related words not mentioned on your site run the gamut from the poetic:

o 'getsuji' or 'tsuki no mono' ('moon thing')

o 'hatsuhana' ('first flower') and 'shochou' ('first tide'): referring to one's firt period

o 'tsuki tachinikeri' ('the moon has risen'): a euphemism used in Japan's oldest book, the Kojiki, which was completed in 712

o 'tsuki no sawari' ('moon obstacle'): denotes a monthly obstacle or a cloud over the moon

the very indirect:

o 'are' ('that'): 11 percent of the survey respondents use this word

the more lighthearted:

o 'ichigo-chan' ('Little Miss Strawberry')

o 'okyakusama' ('guest'): a formal word used humorously here

o 'irasshaimase' ('welcome'): also formal

o 'ketchappu' ('ketchup') and 'tomato'

and the more historical:

o 'Anne no hi' ('Anne's day'), from The Diary of Anne Frank, when Anne discusses her period. Apparently there was also a brand of sanitary napkins named 'Anne' for this reason. There was for sure a tampon named for Ms. Frank.

o 'hi no maru' ('rising sun'): the name for the Japanese flag, a big red circle on a field of white. [Continued in the left-hand column.]


The modern Japanese character, or kanji, AN, which means "restful, ease, or cheap." The figure under the "roof" is the modern Japanese character for women.

The ancient Chinese forerunner showing a woman sitting on menstrual cloth (?) at home (shown by the wish-bone shaped roof).

All drawing from Kenneth Henshall, A Guide to Remembering Japanese Characters, Tokyo & Boston, 1998.

While reading Kenneth Henshall's "A Guide to Remembering Japanese Characters," my eyes popped when I came across the character AN (at left). I saw the familiar symbol for woman under the drawing for roof, which indicates a building. AN today means restful, ease or cheap.

Henshall explains all is not what it seems. The ancient character from China - the Japanese imported Chinese characters roughly 2000 years ago to give themselves a written language - originally showed a woman sitting on a flat object under a roof (see second character at left). Henshall writes that she was sitting on a menstrual pad at home, not working but resting until her period was over. That gave the meanings above, "cheap" coming from the associated meaning that "there was no cause for concern." With passing time the character's form changed, as happened with most of the thousands of characters in Japan and China.

I wonder if this means that women at the time of the original Chinese character sat in one place in the house during their period. Were they confined, as some women in India and elsewhere are today? And what exactly did they sit on? Cloth? Straw?

See more Japanese and Chinese characters, plus other languages, in Words and expressions about menstruation.

While I have the book open, let me crack you up with the kanji - Japanese character - for "cat."
clawed beast  MYOO


 Japanese for Dog, derived from character below.
 Ancient Chinese character for dog, showing it standing on hind legs, with pointed ears and barking (mouth open at upper left. Ponder it.).

The jagged left side of the kanji normally designates dog, believe it or not, but here is the simplification of a character meaning clawed beast. The two-part right-side character means a seedling or offspring, but is used here just for its sound, a very common practice in Japanese. That sound is MYOO - or meow. So a cat is the clawed beast that meows!

MYOO comes from Chinese and is used in some Japanese compound words, but Japanese kids first learn their native word for cat, neko. The word for "Japanese style" is wafu. If I ever get another cat I'm naming him/her neko wafu after my favorite candy, Necco Wafers. (Let me head off critics by saying yes, Japanese adjectives precede nouns, but that won't work here. Hey, I've got a cat named Prof. Dr. Max C. Padd. More about cats here.)

Strangely enough, Japanese children learn the character for "dog" (at left, different from the one usually used in compound characters, above) in the first grade but are not required to know the one for "cat" until after the sixth grade. That must have cultural meaning, maybe that cats meant little in Japanese and Chinese society. My father ate in a Taiwan restaurant that cooked puppies; kittens were not on the menu. Pop did not partake. The modern symbol meaning "dog" is very simple and direct, unlike the "clawed beast that meows" for "cat," which lends credence to my hunch that dogs - as meals? - were more important. I'm not a vegan for nothing.

I'm always interested to know what different cultures call cats and why.


Guests came "I think this word combination is common," wrote the 22-year-old Alfiya in Kyrgyzstan, the contributor, who did not supply the expression in her own language, but translated it. (March 2001)
Damnation "This, I think, is concerned with the Biblical subject about Eve. I call it so because it's a habit, but I don't understand why it is called such." Again, from Alfiya, as is the one above. (March 2001)


"Regla (translated Rule) basically is a rule that you will have it every month, something constant. We'll say something like 'I'm on my regla.' Comadre (kind of similar to the 'Aunt' reference in English) is like your companion, very close to you. In Spanish a comadre is someone who is related to you because they are the godmother of one of your sons/daughters, so is a very close and special person, many times a relative, that you should respect. We'll say something like 'My comadre came to visit.' I'm a female, Mexican, living in the U.S. and I'm 22, a college student." (April 2007)
"Hi! I just wanted to share this with you. When I'm on my period, and I don't have any pads and that stuff I ask my mom to buy me 'cookies' just because I didn't wanted to explain about my period. Also, when I had my first period and my brother asked my what happened I tried to explain him not using words like 'menstruation' and stuff, he got the point and said 'Qué sangrona eres.' We're from Mexico, and to say that someone is really mean or selfish we say 'ella/él es sangrona/sangron' (she/he is mean or selfish). Now, you notice that word has sangr- on it and it looks like sangre, which means blood. I really don't know why we use 'sangrona' for selfish or mean people. It's kind of funny associating this to 'that.' ****, 16 years old." (October 2005)
to have pain or discomfort. The female American contributor writes, "Mexican friends of mine (female) use the delicate and subtle word 'dolorosas' (to have pain or discomfort). It's a contextual thing as the word can also be used in the context of childbirth and menopause. The root verb 'dolor' means pain: 'Yo tengo dolor aqui' (I hurt here), but dolorosa seems to be used almost always in a feminine context concerning feminine things."
Ella/él es sangrona/sangron see Cookies
Estoy en mis días "'I'm in my days,'" writes the contributor, who also sent the items with an * and adds, "in Merida, México, we use many terms, and you just have one [dolorosas], which we don't even say." (June 2001)
llegó Andrés* "Andrés is a name, and it means Andrés arrived, because it rhymes with 'el que viene cada mes,' the one that comes every month.'" See also Estoy en mis días. (June 2001)
Me bajó*
"Bajar is go down, and it's in past tense; me is to me," writes the Mexican contributor. See also Estoy en mis días. (June 2001)
Me llegó mi visita* "My visit arrived." See also Estoy en mis días. (June 2001)
Qué sangrona eres see Cookies
Regla see Camadre
Vampiritos for tampons "My Latina girlfriends (from Uruguay, Mexico and Colombia) and I (U.S.A. with a Mexican soul) all call it Andrés (from 'él que viene cada mes' - "he who comes every month"). My husband, born in Mexico, refers to tampons as 'vampiritos' (literally, little vampires, because they suck blood). We both also refer to 'black towel time' because we toss one on the bed to protect the sheets if we want to play. Great site," writes the contributor. (August 2002)


Chaupadi The custom of banning women to menstrual huts during menstruation. See 19 photos about this in one of Germany's best newspapers. (March 2014)

(The) Netherlands

(*The male Dutch contributor of the phrases with an asterisk [*] wrote, "It occurs to me that a lot of nicknames have the same meaning in other countries.")

Aan de rooie zijn being on the red. Also: "De tomatensoep is overgekookt (The tomato soup overcooked); De rode bieten zijn overgekookt (The red beets overcooked); Mijn dam is gebroken (My dam has broken), as when you're leaking through your Tampax. (Must be typical Dutch I guess, haha!); De rode zee is overstroomd (The Red Sea has flooded); De dam van de Rode Zee is gebroken (The dam from the Red Sea has broken) - this means just that your period has started; Heb je een dam voor (overstroming van) de Rode Zee? (Do you have a dam for the [flooded] Red Sea?), used if you're asking someone for a sanitary towel. These expressions I've heard and used in high school, but also I heard them later on in life used by various women. I hope they can be of any use for your funny 'museum' site! Best wishes, ****** (f)," writes the contributor. (February 2002)
Classicol "That is the term in goerree overflakkee [an island of south Holland about 50 km from Rotterdam, writes the contributor] in Dutch. It's a red oil, and the name is given by the fisherman here by the harbour in Stellendam who say,"My wife has CLASSICOL." Greetings *** (June 2003)
De dam van de Rode Zee is gebroken the dam from the Red Sea has broken. "This means just that your period has started," says the contributor. See Aan de rooie zijn. (February 2002)
De gang wordt weer (rood) geverfd
the corridor is being painted (red) again. "Just wanted to say I absolutely loooove your site - all these words are awesome! Good to talk about your period without those dumb guys knowing what you're talking about. I am from the Netherlands, and here is another one me and my friends call our period: De gang wordt weer (rood) geverfd (the corridor is being painted [red] again). We sort of compare blood with red paint, that's why," writes the contributor. (February 2002)
De rode bieten zijn overgekookt the red beets overcooked. See Aan de rooie zijn. (February 2002)
De rode zee is overstroomd the Red Sea has flooded. See Aan de rooie zijn. (February 2002)
De rooie bus staat voor de deur "Meaning, 'the red bus is standing in front of the door.' What it means is that nobody can come in because the door is blocked. Greetings, ****" (September 2003)
De tomatensoep is overgekookt the tomato soup overcooked. See Aan de rooie zijn. (February 2002)
De vlag hangt uit*
the flag is out
De Russen zijn er the Russians are here. (sent by the Ik heb Russen e-mailer) (January 2001)
Feest "My sisters and I (by this time my daughter too) always use the word 'feest' (party time) for our period. Because it doesn't feel like party time at al," writes the Dutch contributor. (June 2002)
Give me two things: chocolate and space see I got a visit to the red light district
Hangmattentijd* hammock time
Heb je een dam voor (overstroming van) de Rode Zee? Do you have a dam for the [flooded] Red Sea? "used if you're asking someone for a sanitary towel," says the Dutch woman. See Aan de rooie zijn (February 2002)
Het haasje zijn* being the rabbit The "July woman" (see ongesteld) comments, "I don't know this saying referring to menstruation, but obviously someone does. It has another meaning: being the one who is picked on, the one who always suffers/ always has to do the chores." (July 2001)
Het stopje vervangen change the cork (or stopper), also sent by the Ik heb Russen e-mailer. (January 2001)
I got a red to the red light district "I've called it two different things: 1) 'I got a visit to the red light district.' I'm Dutch, and well, sometimes me and my family joke on if we go to Holland to visit family well, make a trip to the red light district, but not really. 2) 'Give me two things: chocolate and space' says it all." (February 2007)
Ik ben jeweetwel "I am you-know-what," writes the contributor. (October 2003)
Ik ben "O" "Ik ben 'O' = I'm O= is like 'I'm having M.' We use it very often - not that the guys don't understand us, but that doesn't matter. Cya [cover your ass, "protect yourself"], or not, of course, haha, bye." She also wrote, "We, the Dutch, all speak English. We learn it at school, since we are 10." (June 2002)
Ik heb Russen I'm having/ I have Russians The contributor writes, "My mom, my sister and I usually refer to our periods as [this]; it probably has to do with the red color, communism, etc., where the Americans say 'the Reds are here'; this Dutch woman also sent the following one, which the same family members use. (January 2001)
I'm laying an egg (July 2003)
[een] Kruisraket lanceren A Dutch woman writes, "I use the expression 'een kruisraket lanceren,' 'to launch a cruise missile' - 'to replace a Tampax,'" something pertinent to this age. (January 2003)
Menstrueren to menstruate "the medical word," writes the "July woman" in ongesteld. (July 2001)
Mijn dam is gebroken my dam has broken, "as when you're leaking through your Tampax. Must be typical Dutch I guess, haha!" added the contributor. See Aan de rooie zijn. (February 2002)
Ongesteld zijn having your period, sent by the Ik heb Russen e-mailer (January 2001). A Dutch woman e-mailed (July 2001) that "'ongesteld' is an old-fashioned word for being ill, unwell, but it has become the normal word for menstruating." So, she says, "'ik ben ongesteld' means 'I am unwell' and is the mainstream word; the others are slang."
Opoe op bezoek hebben* to have grandma on visit
Verkeerde tijd van de maand* wrong time of the month
Vrouwenzaken* woman's business

New Guinea

An Australian woman contributed (June 2001) these entries; her husband spent 18 months in New Guinea. She gives words in pidgin, a language formed to allow conversation between two groups of people who barely know one another's languages. About 1000 of the world's 6000 languages are native to New Guinea, far more than any other spot in the world. She writes, "I would like to add that I am no expert in pidgin. This is what I can make out from the Pidgin-English translation dictionary we have at home."

I lukim meri woman's visitor [in pidgin], i.e., menstruation "where 'lukim' translates as 'to look at, to see, or visit. 'Meri' (Mary) is the word for 'woman' (missionary origins)"
Mun i kilim
moon of injury [in pidgin], i.e., menstruation "'Mun' can be translated as either 'moon' or 'month' and 'kilim' ('kill him') means injure.' 'Kilim pinis' ('kill him finished') means 'kill.' An 'abortion' is 'kilim pikanini' ('kill him picaninny')"
Sik mun
menstruation "The pidgin term 'sik mun' is derived from (and pronounced the same way) as the English words 'sick moon.' When I have my period (which me and my Australian friends call 'Fred') my husband says 'The sick moon fairy is visiting,'" writes the contributor. (June 2001)

New Zealand

Having my friend see Having my mate
Having my George see Having my mate
Having my mate
"Here in rural New Zealand, I have often heard it referred to as 'Having my mate.' This was also used when I was at boarding school, so I am picking it is a nationwide term. It is the same thing as 'Having my friend,' implying that means that one is not pregnant, hence a mate, or something to be welcomed. Another one that was common in the whole school was to say 'I've got my George.' Goodness knows where that came from. Thanks, ****" (April 2005)
Inconvenient visitor see Red sails in the sunset
Mrs Noodles "One of my ex's and I used to call menstruation 'Mrs noodles' because of the similarity between the title of the Japanese film 'Tampopo' (about a woman who desparately wants to be a noodle chef) and the word tampon. Supid, but there you go. In addition, it meant that PMT was 'packet noodles.'" (November 2002)
Packet noodles see Mrs Noodles
Period, schmieriod
see Strawberry jam time
Red sails in the sunset
the contributor writes, "Wow, I love this site. I had no idea there were so many different names for that inconvenient visitor. When I first got my period I had to ring my sister and say, 'Red sails in the sunset.' Since I have had babies my cycle has had a mind of its own; it's like a bad door-to-door salesman arrives and departs when you least expect it and at inappropriate moments, but this site gives us all something to laugh about." (March 2002)
Strawberry jam time "Hello, my name is ***. A few years ago an old lover of mine refered to my menstruation as 'strawberry jam time.' I still call him strawberry jam man. Also, 'period, shmeriod.' These New Zealand men have no problems about women's bodies. Well, these two blokes don't; I'm not sure about the rest," writes a woman from New Zealand. (August 2002)


Clock "This expression is a euphemism for time. In some local Nigerian languages the words for 'time' and 'clock' would be about the same. A girl would give her boyfriend the shocking news that she has not seen her monthly period by saying, 'I can't find my clock' or 'I am still looking for my clock.' [see also 'Doing time,' from the same contributor.] Congratulations on such a fascinating page. I cannot remember last time I spent so much time on any one page on the Internet. This page deserves to be in the Guiness Book of Records as the most engaging page on the Web. Here are two Nigerian expressions for menstruation which I did not see in on the list ["Clock" and "Doing time"]. Keep up the good work." (February 2003)
Doing time "Girls would talk of themselves as 'doing time'; and when they say they are not ready for sex their boyfriends would ask them if they are 'doing time.'" [See more at Clock, from the same contributor] (February 2003)

Northern Ireland

On the blob "These are both from Northern Ireland: On the blob: a male friend used this when he lived with me (because it blobs out, basically). Up on blocks: Useless old cars without wheels are propped up on blocks in driveways. Some men think women on their period are not fit for their primary purpose (sex), and are therefore 'up on blocks' awaiting becoming usable again!" (January 2007)
Up on blocks see On the blob


(c=from the TBG Blad [newspaper], Tønsberg, Norway, 1995). Harry Finley translated the words.

Besøk af tanta Rød fra Potzdam visit of Aunt Red from Potsdam (c)
Den tiden i måneden. The 17-year-old contributor writes partly in Norwegian, which I translate in brackets: Hallo! Jeg er en jente på 17 år fra Norge (som om du ikke har forstått det alt :-D), og jeg har lest listen over "Words and expressions" med stor glede! Den var virkelig morsom. Resten av siden din er også veldig bra. Veldig underholdende, og veldig lærerik! Takk! :-) Jeg har noen norske uttrykk som kanskje kan være av interesse. [Hello! I'm a girl of 17 from Norway {as if you didn't understand that :-D} and I read the list of Words and expressions with great enjoyment! They were really enjoyable. The rest of the pages of your site are also really good. Really entertaining and really instructive! Thanks! :-) I have some Norwegian expressions that might be of interest.] I know you understand a whole lot of Norwegian, but since I'm not sure of exactly how much you know, I'll write the rest in English. No offence! When you have your period and don't want to participate in gym class, one of your parents (mostly the mother) writes a note for the teacher, saying "Vanlig grunn". (Or, like you've already put on the Words... list, "det vanlige".) This is very common, and has been for at least 30 years. Usually, the note goes something like this: "12 September '03. Vanlig grunn. [usual reason] X.X. [Parent's name.]" Other words and expressions: "Menstruasjon." "Menstruation." Formal. Used in the same ways as the English word. "Mensen or mens." Used exactly as the English word "period." Short for menstruasjon. "Jeg har mensen." Used like the English expression "I'm on my period." This is an extremely common Norwegian expression - the expression, so to speak. But even though it's so common, some girls feel it awkward/embarrassing to put it that way, and prefer to say "Jeg har den." [I have it.] "Jeg har Saba." According to a novel I've read, this expression was used to some extent in Norway in the 60's. I don't know if it really was. Anyway, it refers to the Norwegian pad brand Saba Self Sit. [See and read something about the history of the Saba company.] That brand is, by the way, still quite popular, but mostly bought by middle-aged women. "De krekslige*, månedlige greiene." [Monthly affairs] (*Krekslig = disgusting, yucky, sickening - a dialect slang word used in Southern Norway.) My mother's colleague used this expression once. "Jeg har vondt [pain] i magen." Said in a way that makes it obvious that you're talking about menstruation. "Jeg kan ikke ha gym i dag." The same. "Den tiden i måneden." [Time of the month] "Det månedlige." [The monthlies] "Jeg blør." Not the most usual expression, but it's being used. "Jeg må kjøpe noen nødvendigheter." Means you have to buy pads or tampons. Håper disse er til nytte! Jeg elsker siden din, den er utrolig bra!!! Tusen takk for alt du har gjort så langt, da! Lykke til videre! ;-D Med vennlig hilsen, Jorunn, southern Norway. [Hope that this is useful. I love your pages, they are unbelievable good! Thousand thanks for all you've done so far. I wish you more luck! With friendly greetings, Jorunn, southern Norway.] (October 2003)
De krekslige see Den tiden i måneden
Det it (c)
Den tiden i måneden see Den tiden i måneden
Det vanlige the usual (c)
Greiene the affairs, business (c)
Jeg blør see Den tiden i måneden
Jeg har den see Den tiden i måneden
Jeg har mensen see Den tiden i måneden
Jeg har Saba see Den tiden i måneden
Jeg kan ikke ha gym i dag see Den tiden i måneden
Jeg har vondt i magen see Den tiden i måneden
Jeg må kjøpe noen nødvendigheter see Den tiden i måneden
Kommunister i lysthuset Communists in the arbor, or summer house (c)
Mensen or mens see Den tiden i måneden
Menstruasjon see Den tiden i måneden
Månedlige greiene
see Den tiden i måneden
Vanlig grunn see Den tiden i måneden


Mahwari literally means monthly (from a 24-year-old male Pakistani physician, September 2000)
Technical problem, having a an American e-mailer writes, "A friend of my mom's who was doing some research in Pakistan got food poisoning and a local doctor was called in. After hearing some of her symptoms (stomach cramps, vomiting) he first asked her if she might be pregnant. When she said no, he next asked her if she was 'having a technical problem?' The way he said it, she knew he meant having her period! I don't know how healthy it is to think about a natural bodily function this way, but I think it's pretty funny. Please try back later - we are experiencing technical difficulties. Keep up the good work -- I love your site!" (May 2002)


La tante rouge the red aunt. The contributor wrote "used by my Peruvian mother." It looks French. (December 2000)
Periodo "When I was a young teenager in a Spanish grammar class a professor named Sr. Cuevas, also known as 'Tramboyo,' went on a long dissertation telling us the correct pronunciation of the word periodo, one meaning a) an amount of time, and the other, b) meaning menses. The only difference was where you placed the tilde. To make a long story short: many years have been by, and I still do not know which one is the correct pronunciation." The writer also contributed Menses, Regla, Flujo, El mes and Las buenas nuevas (August 2001)
Menses (August 2001)
(August 2001)
(August 2001)
El mes
(August 2001)
Las buenas nuevas "good news: you are not pregnant," writes the contributor of Menses, Regla, Flujo, El mes and Periodo (August 2001)


Buwanang dalaw "I'm Bebang, 23 years old, from Manila. Your site is very interesting. I noticed there was no contribution from the Philippines. Here are two examples: the elders usually refer to menstruation [in the national languag] as "buwanang dalaw." It means monthly visit. But in a casual manner, we say "meron ako," which literally means 'I have . . . .' We don't really have to say what is it that we have. It is understood that a woman is having her menstrual period. " (April 2003)
Dalaw visitor see also Buwanang dalaw "For some reason women have associated menstruation with having a visitor every month," writes the male Filipino, who continues, "Here in the Philippines we say it two ways," and added Regla. (July 2004)
Meron ako see Buwanang dalaw
Misred "I have a Filipina fiancée and she uses the English words Red Tide or misred to describe her menstruation. She will not take a bath or shower during this period as she believes an ill wind will enter her vagina. She does however wash locally but no bath or shower." (October 2006)
Red tide see misred
Regla related to many European words for menstruation and probably introduced by the Spanish during the time Spain owned the Philippines. See also Delaw. (July 2004)


The contributor of the starred * words writes (August 2001), "There are probably more words used regionally, but these are very common and known by mostly all (I live in Quebec, French Canada, and have contacts with Polish immigrants from different parts of the country).

All my efforts are in vain. Do you know how to get the thing moving? [original in Polish] German literary critic Marcel Reich-Ranicki found this in a letter from a female Polish soldier in World War II when he worked as a military censor. The German translation reported in his autobiography Mein Leben is "Alle meine Anstrengungen sind vergeblich. Weißt Du nicht, wie man die Sache in Schwung bringen kann?" [November 2001]
Ciocia z Moskwy "I am Polish and I noticed you do not have listed the most widely used phrase in my part of Poland when I was growing up, beside okres: 'ciocia z Moskwy' or Aunt from Moscow. It was used a lot around Bialystok area at least from 1970s on. I haven't been there in a while so I can't say what is used now. I have to admit I have no clue what those first two sentences in the Polish section are about," writes the contributor. (June 2002)
Ciota "vulgar - I believe it's derived from the word 'ciotka,' which means aunt (also used to describe a wussy man)."
Miesiaczka* "Could be translated as 'the monthly,' less common, not vulgar either."
My [American] Indian isn't coming [original in Polish] German literary critic Marcel Reich-Ranicki found this in a letter from a female Polish soldier in World War II when he worked as a military censor. The German translation reported in his autobiography Mein Leben is "Mein Indianer kommt nicht." [November 2001]
"literally 'period.' I believe this is the most common description of the period - it's used by everybody - it's not vulgar."
I am very upset because there is no sign of the Chinese [original in Polish] German literary critic Marcel Reich-Ranicki found this in a letter from a female Polish soldier in World War II when he worked as a military censor. The German translation reported in his autobiography Mein Leben is "Ich bin sehr unruhig, denn der Chinese läßt sich nicht blicken" [November 2001]


*sent by a Portuguese 16-year-old girl in June 2001

Benfica* (see O Benfica . . .) (June 2001)
Chegaram os Ingleses the English arrive in Portugal (June 2001)
Estou com a fita vermelha na máquina I have the red label in the old typewriter (June 2001)
the menarche [June 2001]
O Benfica joga em casa The Benfica plays at home. The contibutor writes, "Benfica is a football club [soccer to Americans], very well known in the world, whose colour is red." The contributor also sent Tuo com o Chico and Periodo. (April 2001)
Periodo period [April 2001]
Regras* laws [June 2001]
Ser Mulher* being a woman [June 2001]
Tou com o Chico no translation of this from the contributor of Periodo and O Benfica joga em casa [April 2001], but a Portuguese (who sent the contributions marked with *) e-mailed in June 2001 that it's "almost the same as Joe's coming or Aunt Mary is coming to visit."

Puerto Rico

La regla the ruler see Te canto el gallo?
Te canto el gallo
Did the rooster already sing? "I'm from Puerto Rico. The term that most mothers and grannies use when referring to menstruation is 'Did the rooster already sing?' I got my period when I was just a nine-year-old and everybody kept asking me 'Te canto el gallo?' Our native language is Spanish. Girls referred to it as 'La regla,' the ruler,' in school," writes the contributor. It's interesting that a male animal should be significant in a code for menarche. (January 2002)


* marks those sent by a 15-year-old Russian girl in May 2001

Chronic delay see Critical days
Critical days
"Hello, Your site is just out of this world! I should never have thought that such a crazy idea could ever strike someone. I'm just blank! Well, concerning this sort of thing, I'd say that there're some euphemisms to conceal 'the whole gravity' ;-) of the situation and every girl chooses the one she likes best. There are some of common use, just like you've got at your site, as well as unusual ones. For example, 'a Japanese flag.' If you know what it looks like, you'll find it very funny. ;-) Or, for instance, the one my friend and I invented two years ago. The origin of this word must have been really interesting and it was somehow connected with the German sound 'U umlaut' [ü] - though I can't remember exactly. This word was 'klin.' It had nothing to do with a Russian word which means 'wedge.' It was just something to let each other know that we have our "critical days" (this expression is very common in the ad of sanitary towels and also in the joke 'Every critical day requres its blow-job.'). But no one else on Earth would ever guess what we meant. The most ridiculous thing about all that was the day when I finally had a 10-days delay. Then my pretty witty friend called it 'khronicheskoye besklinje' - 'a chronic delay' when I discovered that I was pregnant. Now, when I have my beautiful one-year-old baby girl and I have my periods again, I also call it 'klin' and my husband is now also aware of what I mean. As for sports and school, we used to tell our teacher, 'Well, I'm sorry, I just can't.' And that was all. He got it OK. But, I'd like to make clear the meaning of the phrase 'IA TEKU' ('I'm flowing'). In fact, it doesn't mean you can't have sex now; it's quite the opposite. It means the girl is extremely excited and she doesn't need any extra lubricant, she has enough natural one. Should you need any further information, I'm ready to help. Best regards." (August 2004)
Godoviye "Hi! I'm a 21-year-old Russian female. I've got several expressions in Russian that mean getting a period that I'd like to share! Techka [TE-chkuh] - literally meaning 'drippage,' 'flow.' - Godoviye [guh-duh-VY-yeh] actually means 'annual,' but is sarcastic slang for period, coming from a wish for the monthly period to only come once a year and be an annual period instead. - Pyatna na prostyni - meaning 'spots on the linens' and referring to a girl waking up in the morning to discover she's started her period by seeing a red spot on her linens. That one we used as young teens in a summer camp. - Mes. - an abbreviation for 'mesyatchniye', which literally means 'monthly' and refers to period. When girls whisper to each other in class, they use the abbreviation "mes." so that the boys won't know what they're talking about, yet all the girls will get it. - Monthly relief - this one we Russians who live in U.S.A. use, mostly of college age, to indicate our relief at our not being pregnant each month." (March 2005)
Guests come to visit
(in translation) ". . . that's what we used as teenagers. I used to be on a swim team (back in former Soviet Union) and our coach actually made up that phrase. When one of the girls got their period, they were not swimming; and when other girls asked the coach 'why so and so is not participating in the practice' the coach said 'she has guests visiting.' I still use that phrase, although my American husband doesn't really 'get' the meaning :o) but it takes me back to my past. Thank you, ******* (From former USSR, now New Jersey)." (July 2002). An e-mailer commented (May 2007): "I am puzzled by your Russian entry where someone claims that her 'coach actually made up the phrase.' The phrase has been standard for decades--and likely longer--and even been used in film and in print. It cannot be ascribed to a single individual--and, the fact that similar expression exist in other languages points to a typical folk euphemism."
*IA TEKU I'm flowing See also Critical days
Japanese flag see Critical days
Khronicheskoye besklinje see Critical days
Klin see Critical days
*LUBIMAYA NEDELIA MESIATSA favourite week of the month. The contributor explains, "I sometimes call it [this] when I joke with my friends on this topic."
*MENSTRUATSIJA menstruation (formal name)
Menstryak "My sister calls it Menstryak (it is Russian). It is funny because it's got a Yak in the end, and Menstr explains everything. Words ending with -yak are sort of used to be criminal jargon before, but now have gained a common acceptance. So ­yak is being added in the end, and it doesn't carry any special meaning, sort of like ­ie in thingies. And yes, we are both Russian." (April 2007)
Mes. see Godoviya
MESIACHNIJEE menstruation (formal name)
Prazdniki holidays says the Canadian-immigrant-from-Russia-via-Israel contributor, "My friend, her mom, my mom, my best friend, and now my boyfriend all call it this. I'm not sure why, but this is a very convenient term. We all now live in Canada and sometimes use it in English. 'I'm celebrating,' 'I have holidays.' And this can be a happy event since it shows that you're not pregnant." She later wrote, after I suggested that it could be taking a holiday from school or physical education, "Not sure. I left Russia in grade 3, it is just that I kept socializing with Russians when I moved to Israel, and then Canada. I can't remember anything from Israel, maybe because I was too young for those terms : ) There is an expression in Russian, 'red calendar days.' It means holidays (like Christmas and such) because they are red on the calendar. Maybe that is the origin. Your interpretation is possible too, but considering that my friend moved away quite early too, I have no idea about its correctness : )" ["Red calendar days" also appears in American booklets for girls published by menstrual products companies {see a list of booklets on this site}. "Red calendar," when you think about it, could also refer to Communism; this connection appears in at least two languages, Norwegian, and Dutch in The Netherlands {see those categories, above}.] (June 2001)
Pyatna na prostyni see Godoviya
SCHASTLIVIJEE DENKI happy days. The contributor explains, "I sometimes call it [this] when I joke with my friends on this topic."
Techka see Godoviya
*U MENIA DELA I'm busy or I've got THAT stuff now, which her friend sometimes says.
*VREMENNOEE OSVOBOZHDENIE temporarily free from visiting PT. The contributor explains, "In school we have physical training (PT) lessons and if we have periods we can miss them (I mean PT lessons)," not that this needed explanation.
Well, I'm sorry, I just can't. see Critical days
*ZHENSKIJEE DELA women's stuff


Aunt Bertha the e-mailer, a writer, does not know where she found it. (February 2004)
Bleeding like a banshee from the contributor of Aunt Bertha (February 2004)
Dabs "
DABS is sometimes a word used in Scotland," writes an anonymous e-mailer. (February 2004)
Red flag week
a woman e-mailer (September 2000) says it's also used in Canada


Dobila sam see menstruacija
Imam see menstruacija
Imam zenske muke see menstruacija
Menstruacija "Menstruacija, Menzis, Perioda ­ menstruation. Women almost never use these words in everyday life. Instead they say 'Dobila sam,' which means 'I have got it,' or 'Imam,' which means 'I have it.' Sometimes they say 'Imam zenske muke,' which means 'I have female trouble.' There is also a very rarely used expression 'Tetka iz Crvenke.' In English that would mean 'Aunt from the red town.' Keep up the good work! ***" (June 2003)
Menzis see menstruacija
Perioda see menstruacija
Tetka iz Crvenke see menstruacija


Kramy the contributor writes, "I see u do not have expressions for menstruation in Slovak language. 'Kramy': very common slang. 'Menzes.' 'Menstruacia.' 'Svoje dni': 'like her days, or own days.' So, because I almost never use slang I do not know many expressions, but at least a little contribution from Slovakia regarding menstruation topic :) Best regards, *** ***" (May 2003)
Menzes see Kramy
Menstruacia see Kramy
Svoje dni see Kramy


Festa "Hiya! I'm just having fun with your Web site and I'd like to tell you our Slovenian expressions for menstruation. Menstruacija: that's how it is called in formal way. Festa [the third letter is an s with circumflex]: that's the word that is used in part of country that's near Italy. It comes from italian word 'la festa,' which means celebration, party. Ta rdecit [the fourth letter is a c with circumflex] literally means 'the red one.' Menstra: girls use that word and it is short for 'menstruacija.' Hope I helped you a bit." (May 2004)
Menstra see Festa
Menstruacija see Festa
Ta rdeca see Festa

South Africa

A bloody waste of fucking time "I'm 29 and from Texas and we, too, used 'George' as the term in high school. I usually just refer to it as 'that time of the month.' I used to see a guy who used to call it 'a bloody waste of fucking time.' He was 36 and from South Africa and Great Britain. ****, DVM."
see My aunt parked her red Porsche outside
Granny came in a red Ferrari "Hi, there, I'm 19 years old, and currently live in South Africa and have been suffering since I was 11, but anyway.... My best friend and I started round about the same time and we were always depressed and of course in total agony (and the only 2 chicks in our grade who knew what it takes to be a 'woman')! My friend being the wonderful person she is came up with the phrase, 'Granny came in a red Ferrari!' It always made me laugh and we still use it to this day. If it came late she'd say, 'Granny's stuck in traffic' = P When Granny's Ferrari is at our house my dad always looks at me and says, 'Sukke tyd?' It's Afrikaans for 'That time of the month?' I call pads 'those dreadful concoctions of plastic and cotton!' And tampons are just plain 'thingies' cuz you get the teeny tiny ones that you can never find in your bag when you need them! And honestly I would skip the whole shlep if I could! *SIGH* Regards, Granny's favorite grandchild =P" (December 2006)
Granny's stuck in traffic
see Granny came in a red Ferrari
I'm mourning
see My aunt parked her red Porsche outside
I'm sick see My aunt parked her red Porsche outside
It's time see My aunt parked her red Porsche outside
Hammock season the contributor writes that it's from the 1970's and based on the pads with elastic passed through the loops (January 2001)
Jam rags "In South Africa [in the late 60's] I heard male friends refer to them as 'jam rags.'" (August 2005)
Kalender pes "When I was at university all my female residence friends (co-ed residence) used to talk of 'kalender pes.' It is Afrikaans for calender plague." (June 2003)
My aunt parked her red Porsche outside the South Africa contributor writes, "Some of the terms I've heard around here are:
'Rooi gety' (Afrikaans, meaning Red Tide in English), 'It's time,' 'I'm sick,' I'm mourning' (seen in the light that the womb mourns the 'death' of the unfertilized egg and her hard work to prepare a home for the new embryo/baby was all for nothing). At school I've heard the girls asking for 'chips' if they wanted a pad." (December 2002)
Rooi gety see My aunt parked her red Porsche outside
Sukke tyd? see Granny came in a red Ferrari
Thingies see Granny came in a red Ferrari
Those dreadful concoctions of plastic and cotton! see Granny came in a red Ferrari


(Spanish journalist and writer Margarita Rivière e-mailed the words with an asterisk (*) [2000])

La berza "[It's] like cabbage (bad smell)" (July 2005)
El inquilino comunista "The communist guest" (July 2005)
La maruja
The Spanish male who sent the phrase "me vino . . . ," below, wrote, "The same friend of mine uses "la maruja" to designate menstruation. Maruja in Spanish is a sort of nickname for elderly women called "María."
Me vino a visitar mi prima comunista
The Spanish male contributor, who also contributed "la maruja," did not translate it; he wrote that he heard a female fiend say it, the same one who used "la maruja," above. [contributed October 2000]. A writer later translated it as "my communist cousin came to visit." (January 2001)
La regla*
the rule


See an excerpt from a Dutch book about words & expressions for menstruation from around the world including Suriname
with paintings illustrating some. A former member of the Dutch parliament who was born in Suriname wrote the book.


Amerikafrämmat, "means visitors from America" (May 2012, from contributor of Jag har mens)
Det månatliga "the monthly" (May 2012, from the contributor of Jag har mens)
Grejjerna "the things"(May 2012, from the contributor of Jag har mens)
Jag har mens "mens is a abbreviation for menstruation." Jag har mens means I'm having my period. "And a story about menstrual pads in my family. My grandmother, born 1898 in Sweden, used crocheted pads with eagles and string, it looked almost like the pads from Norway (and here) My mother, born 1935, bought modern pads. She hated the crocheted ones, and to wash them without a machine, as her mother needed to do. I, born 1967, first used modern pads, but know I knit and sew my own pads, and of course use a washing machine." (May 2012)
Jag kan inte bada "means that I can't swim" (May 2012, from contributor of Jag har mens)
"My name is Ann C. P-, living in Stockholm, Sweden. First, I really like this 'place' and second: I was just reading your list of words used for 'menstruation' in different countries. But, as far as I could see, you didn't have any Swedish words! In Sweden (when I was a kid in the seventies and eighties) we used (among other words) the words 'monta' and 'lingonvecka.' I suppose 'monta' is an abreviation of 'monthly' ('månatlig,' or 'varje månad' in Swedish). The second word, or expression, I don't quite know how to translate: 'Vecka' means 'week' and 'lingon' is a berry (I hope I spelled it right?), a very red berry (you mostly make jam out of it, it tastes a little bit sour-sweet). I don't know the word for it in English [my dictionary says 'cowberry' and 'whortleberry,' and writes this about cowberry: 'Vaccinium vitis-idaea. This is an uncultivated member of the cranberry family and is primarily used in northern Europe to make jams and preserves.' And writes that whortleberry is a form of bilberry, which is '{a}ny of several shrubs belonging to the heath family, closely related to North American blueberries. They have blue or black edible berries. {Genus Vaccinium, family Ericaceae}' And vaccinium comes from the Latin 'vacca,' 'cow.' Vaccinations started with cowpox; milk maids in England seemed to be protected from smallpox after coming down with cowpox. Amazing this Internet, no?]. Maybe there are more words in Denise Malmberg(?), 'Skammens röda blomma' [Shame's Red Flower,' according to my dictionary] (I don't know if it exists in English, but it's originally a dissertation at Stockholm University (I think). Soo long! And have a nice day and evening and night! From a quite loyal visitor to your site!!" (October 2002)
A second contribution: "Lingonvecka, Lingon is a red berry, vecka means week" (May 2012, from contributor of Jag har mens)
Monta see Lignonvecka


D'Russe chömed see Ich han mini Periode
Ich han mini Periode
"On the German part of your homepage you have a lot of poetic expressions, but in Switzerland (German speaking part), you just say: 'Ich han mini Periode' (Ich habe meine Periode) - 'I have my period.' I've also heard the following: 'D'Russe chömed' ('Die Russen kommen') - 'The Russians are coming.' I've been living abroad for the last ten years, so I don't know how much this one is used now :-)," writes the contributor, who also contributed Megjött in the Hungary section .(September 2002)

United Kingdom

See England, Scotland and Wales


Andrés "My Latina girlfriends (from Uruguay, Mexico and Colombia) and I (U.S.A. with a Mexican soul) all call it Andrés (from 'él que viene cada mes' - he who comes every month). My husband, born in Mexico, refers to tampons as 'vampiritos' (literally, little vampires, because they suck blood). We both also refer to 'black towel time' because we toss one on the bed to protect the sheets if we want to play. Great site," writes the contributor. (August 2002)


Wearing the red beret "Bi-re mau do" is red beret in Vietnamese, according to the contributor. I wonder if this shows the influence of France, which once was the power in Vietnam. (December 2003)


Henry was here the woman contributor writes, "I live in a small coastal town in South Wales, Great Britain. When I was in school we used to say 'Henry was here,' as only a man could cause such pain and inconvenience." [December 2000]

The following come from one e-mailer (March 2011): "Here are some terms for menstruation in Welsh (translations provided) which I've come across during the course of my PhD studies:"

Cyfarfod misol - monthly meeting - equating periods with chapel or church services!

Mae Mam yn gwneud jam - Mum is making jam- strawberry presumably!

Bechingalws - What-do you-call-its

Dolur Misol - Monthly wound

Dod i,Äôm lle - Coming to my place

Mae hi yn ei bodau - She is in her flowers.


Having visitors see Moon
"In my Zambian culture menstruation has many names. Among elders it is known as 'moon.' You would often hear an elder person asking you if you have seen or have been to the moon (having periods). Among my age groups at college we referred to it as simply 'MP,' Member of Parliament (monthly period). You would hear a friend telling you that she is a Member of Parliament (monthly period) or 'having visitors.' You would hear somebody asking you if 'you have seen' (having periods). I myself like to have my periods though most of the time it is very inconvenient especially when you are traveling. But when you are at home it's a wonderful experience of womanhood. It makes us different from men." **** with a UK country code. (September 2006)
MP see Moon
You have seen see Moon

Sources other than site visitors' submissions
a The Curse: Confronting the Last Unmentionable Taboo: Menstruation, (book) by Karen Houppert (Farrar, Straus and Giroux; New York, 1999) Read a review.
b Die unpäßliche Frau: Sozialgeschichte der Menstruation und Hygiene 1860-1985, (book) by Sabine Hering and Gudrun Maierhof (Centuarus Verlagsgesellschaft, Pfaffenweiler, 1991)
c TBG Blad (newspaper), Tønsberg, Norway, 1995. See an exhibition about menstruation in Tønsberg.
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