Period slang. Whether you love it, hate it, or you’re somewhere in between, it’s here to stay. Other words for periods have existed for a long time – so today, we’re going to dive into the fascinating world of period slang.
Why do people use other words for periods?
Firstly, the word ‘period’ is another name for menstruation. You may think the word ‘period’ has been around for ages, but surprisingly, ‘period’ only started to be used medically in the early 1800s. Because stigma has existed around bleeding for as long as time, it’s no wonder that people have been coming up with other words for periods.
Think about this: you probably have friends or family members who you shy away from saying ‘period’ to – maybe they cringe at it, or maybe they still stigmatise periods. Or maybe they’re dealing with their first period and they feel a little shy.
Do other words for periods perpetuate stigma?
Across the ages, people who bleed have experienced embarrassment and shame about their periods. It’s as natural as eating, drinking and sleeping, but it’s been silenced and stigmatised. Periods have been reduced to strange, sometimes cute euphemisms that beat around the bush.
At the end of the day, whether you're calling it a ‘period’ or a ‘monthly gift’, you're referring to a bleeding vagina...and it's about time everybody accepts that. At Modibodi, we believe it’s so important to acknowledge the correct terms for menstruation and ensure we all feel confident and comfortable talking about our bodies without shame.
Is period slang ever useful?
While you certainly don’t have to stop whispering about Aunt Flo and head to the rooftops to shout, "I have my period today" (but if you’re comfy with that, kudos to you), it’s never a bad thing to appreciate our bodies for what they do. Don’t get us wrong – some other words for periods can be fun or easy to say. Slang is a huge part of our culture, and we understand and respect people who want to continue to use their favourite slang.
Nevertheless, we're advocating for eliminating some of the stigma surrounding your bleed. So next time you use slang, consider whether you're doing it for yourself or those around you.
The Period Slang-Term Dictionary
Our faves over at Clue teamed up with the International Women's Health Coalition to conduct a survey that received over 90,000 responses spanning 190 different countries. Woah!
As it turns out, there are over 5,000 slang terms and other words for ‘period’. Wild, huh? See below for a list of the world's wackiest period slang terms.
English 🇺🇸 🇬🇧 🇦🇺
- That time of the month
- Shark Week
- Visit from Aunt Flo/Aunt Flow
- On the rag/ragging
- Surfing the crimson wave
- Mother Nature's Gift
- Code Red
- Having the painters in
- On the blob
- Erdbeerwoche/ Erdbeertage = "Strawberry week"
- Besuch aus Rotenburg = "Relatives from Rotenburg (a small town in Germany) are visiting"
- Emma = "Emma"
- C'est la saison des fraises = "It's strawberry season"
- Les Anglais ont debarqué = "The English have landed"
- La semaine Ketchup = "Ketchup [tomato sauce] week"
- Le mie cose = "I have my things"
- Ho le inondazioni = "I have a flood"
- Megjött a mikulás = "Santa Claus has arrived"
- Maandelijkse feestje = "Monthly party"
- Kommunister i Lysthuset = "Communists in the funhouse"
- Andres, el que viene cada mes = "I'm with Andrew, the one that comes every month."
- Estar del Tomate = "Be like a tomato" (aka: being crazy)
- Descongelar el Bistec = "Defrosting the steak"
- Красные Жигули [Krasnyye Zhiguli] = "Red Zhiguli" (Russian car brand)
- 마법 [mabeob] = "Magic"
- 血祭り [Chimatsuri] = "Blood festival"
- ブルーデイ [Burūdei] = "Blue day"
- 来事 [Lái shì] = "The thing comes"
- 紅茶 [Hóngchá] = "Red tea"
- Eusou Com Chico = "I'm with Chico" [referring to the environmentalist and human rights activist Chico Mendes]
- Quebrou bacia = "Broke basin"
- Nachune = "untouchable" [Unfortunately, period slang isn't always a joke; but this directly relates to the taboo and social stigma surrounding menstruation. Read more about how menstruators are treated in Nepal here].
What do you call your period?
Do you use another word for your period? Another name for menstruation? We’d love to hear your thoughts on period slang and whether you think it’s helpful, harmful, or somewhere in between.