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Menstruation study finds over 5,000 slang terms for 'period'

Euphemisms were found in 10 different languages

Roisin O'Connor
Tuesday 01 March 2016 13:01 GMT
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Some remote communities believe they will suffer bad luck such as natural disasters, abrupt death of animals, and illnesses if women are not banished to huts or cowsheds when they menstruate
Some remote communities believe they will suffer bad luck such as natural disasters, abrupt death of animals, and illnesses if women are not banished to huts or cowsheds when they menstruate

There are over 5,000 different slang terms and euphemisms for the word "period".

That’s according to a new international survey which looked into attitudes around the world towards menstruation.

Conducted by Clue with The International Women’s Health Coalition, the survey received over 90,000 responses spanning 190 different countries about issues including education, how many people take time off when they are on their period, and how comfortable we feel discussing menstruation.

Euphemisms for periods were found in 10 different languages, while 78 per cent of participants around the world believed that slang words were used when talking about periods.

France and China spoke about periods in 91 per cent slang terms, followed by Denmark at 86 per cent.

Here are some of the most frequently used euphemisms in the English language:

- Aunt Flo/Aunt Flow/Aunt

- Time of the month/TOM/That time of the month

- On the rags/rag/ragging

- Red tide/river/sea/moon/light/army/curse/days/dot

- Code Red

- Monthly visitor

- Mother Nature

- Lady time/Lady friend/Lady days

Other English language entries include:

- Crimson wave/tide

- Bloody Mary

- The Blob

- Shark Week

- Painters in/Having the painters in

Euphemisms in other languages:

In Sweden periods can be referred to as "Ligonveckan" which means "ligonberry week", which is similar to Germany’s "Erdbeerwoche" (strawberry week), and Finland has "Hullum lechman tauti" (Mad cow disease).

Brazil has "Eusou Com Chico" ("I'm with Chico" - referring to the socialist Chico Mendes), while China says "Its little sister has come".

Denmark gets inventive with "Der Er Kommunister i Lysthuset" ("There are communists in the funhouse") and women in South Africa might say "Granny's stuck in traffic".

Our favourite though has to be the (slightly old-fashioned) French term "Les Anglais ont debarqué" – which translates rather wonderfully to "The English have landed."

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