Other Words For These 9 Bodily Functions

Bodily functions can be fascinating, embarrassing, and downright odd, but they’re part of, well, having a body. As normal as they may be, however, sometimes the words we use to describe them are simply a little too cringey. And depending on the company we’re in, there are occasions that call for better alternatives.

While there are some silly substitutes we give toddlers (like telling them to say they’ve gone “number two” rather than loudly announcing they just pooped), there are also some fancier, more clinical terms describing our body that may be more to your liking.

Click through to check out these synonyms that help make talking about our embarrassing bodily functions a little less embarrassing.


If someone masticates with their mouth open, it can be unappetizing to say the least. 

Entering English around 1350–1400, the word masticate comes from the Latin verb mastic?re, meaning “to chew.” 

Now, this Latin verb mastic?re, in turn, is based on the Greek mastích?, meaning “chewing gum” and related to the verb mastichân, “to gnash the teeth.” Who knew chewing gum was … so ancient?!

The word manducate also means “to chew.” It comes from the Latin word mand?c?tus, meaning “to chew, eat,” which is a derivative of mand?cus, meaning “glutton.” Manducate entered English around 1615–25.  

If you want something less lavish for the word chew, you could try synonyms like chomp, gnaw, and nibble—just remember to keep your mouth closed while you do it, no matter what you call it.


You better have some tissues handy if you’re experiencing rhinorrhoea. This noun means “an excessive discharge of mucus from the nose,” aka a runny nose. 

Rhinorrhoea is recorded in English around 1865–70. It is formed from rhino, from the Greek word for “nose” (think, rhinoceros), and –rrhea, from a Greek root meaning “flow.” Yep, like diarrhea.


Achoo! That’s the sound of sternutation, or “the act of sneezing.” In response to your sternutation, someone may say gesundheit, which is German for “good health,” and used in place of God bless you.

Back to sternutation: it was first recorded in English between 1535–45. It comes from the Latin word sternuere, which means “to sneeze.” 


When you’re on a long car ride, and you’ve been sipping coffee as the miles pass, you may find yourself having to micturate, or “pass urine.” While people may not know what you mean, we think it sounds much more dignified than other obvious synonyms for urinate, such as tinkle, peepee, whiz, and take a leak

From the Latin word mictur?re, meaning “to desire to urinate,” micturate entered English in the 1800s.


If you have ozostomia, someone may subtly offer you a breath mint. That’s because they can smell your bad breath or halitosis.

The word comes from the Greek word ozóstomos, meaning “having bad breath,” which joins the combining forms ozo-, indicating “smell,” and  -stomous, indicating “mouthed.”


If you’ve ever been in a quiet room when your stomach starts making a borborygmus, you know how embarrassing it can be. Defined as “a rumbling or gurgling sound caused by the movement of gas in the intestines,” it may mean you’re hungry or that you ate something that doesn’t agree with you. 

Recorded since 1710–20, borborygmus comes from the Greek word borborygmós, which means “intestinal rumbling.” 

WATCH: Can You Say These Words That Are Really Hard To Pronounce?

Some people may try to cover up their borborygmus with our next bodily function … tussiculation


These days, as fear of the coronavirus runs high, a little tussiculation is likely to cause people to back away quickly.

Defined as “a hacking cough,” tussiculation is a noun that has been recorded since 1885–90. It ultimately comes from the Latin word tussis, meaning “cough.”


Speaking of people backing away from you, bromhidrosis will do it right quick as well. It’s a noun defined as “the secretion of a foul-smelling sweat.” 

Entering English around 1865–70, bromidhrosis combines brom-, indicating “bromide,” and hidrosis, from the Greek hídr?sis, meaning “sweating,”

Another fancy synonym for bromhidrosis is osmidrosis, while less-fancy terms to describe it include B.O. and funk.


In some countries, eructing after a meal is a compliment to the chef. In your mother’s dining room, however, it’s likely to get you scolded.

Eruct is defined as “to belch forth, as gas from the stomach.” In other words, it means to burp

It comes from the Latin word ?r?ct?re that means “to vomit, discharge violently,” which wouldn’t be a compliment to anyone. English speakers have been eructing since 1660–70; belch dates back to before 1000!

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