After surveying 90,000 people in over 150 countries worldwide, a 2016 Clue research study found over 5,000 period euphemisms With so many different ways to say the word “period,” we’ve narrowed it down to the top 8 out there…
1. Aunt Flow
For obvious reasons, “Aunt Flow” takes the cake for us.
Origin: United States
Meaning: A personification of one’s period, oftentimes alluding to the beginning or anticipation of menstruation. The term was initially coined in reference to an unwelcomed family member who unexpectedly shows up. Some common uses include:
- “Aunt Flow is coming to town”
- “Aunt Flow came to visit last night”
- “I’m due for a visit from Aunt Flow”
2. Shark Week
Origin: United States
Meaning: In reference to the Discovery Channel’s Shark Week, an annual week-long block of shark-related content, which, like a period, can be bloody.
3. Communists in the Gazebo
Meaning: Lots of European countries have their own variation of this phrase, whether the communists are in the kitchen or the funhouse. This specific Danish phrase, translated from the original “Kommunister i lysthuset” truly makes me laugh.
4. Strawberry Week
Meaning: In Germany, the term “Erdbeerwoche” is used, which translates to “strawberry week.” This one’s kinda cute, right?
5. The little clown with its nose bleeding
Meaning: Your guess is as good as mine on this period euphemism.
6. On the Rag
Origin: United Kingdom
Meaning: Originating sometime during the late 19th century, this particular phrase literally describes the way women managed their periods during this time. Menstrual rags would be made using layered pieces of absorbent materials, creating a makeshift pad or rag thick enough to absorb their flow. Many women in the Victorian era would also use pins to attach the rag to their undergarments.
7. Blood Festival
Meaning: “Blood Festival” is pretty straight to the point if you ask me.
8. Defrosting the Steak
Meaning: Real talk, what is the “steak” referring to here? Is the defrosting part like the shedding of the uterine lining? This one’s giving… Confused.
History of Period Euphemisms
For thousands of years, period euphemisms are a way people have distanced themselves from the topic of menstruation.
While it’s okay to say any of these euphemisms, it’s important to remember we don’t have to JUST use them when talking about menstruation. Let’s normalize calling it what it is, A PERIOD.