21 euphemisms that readers grew up with

Euphemisms involving toothpaste, seafood pizza, windswept hair and cutting cheese

Readers have been sharing their favourite euphemisms. Today we publish those known only to a family, or to a circle of friends or colleagues - plus a few with wider currency.

1. We coined our own euphemism after a blustery day out at Ribblehead viaduct in Yorkshire. Messy hair is Ribblehead hair. EdenFi via Twitter

2. In the early 1970s, one of our gang, I shall call him "Jim", told us that his early morning sickness on holiday was not caused by the beer. "It was the toothpaste." To this day, a knowing look and the word "toothpaste?" is understood by us all to be expressing sympathy over some suspected morning-after vomiting. Rob Hayhurst, London, England

3. Any female clothing that is frumpy or old-fashioned without being actually hideous is described as being a bit Molly by my family and friends. I've no idea who the original Molly was, but I'm glad I haven't got her dress sense. Andrea McCulloch via Facebook

4. Getting off at Edgehill - an expression used by some Scouse friends. It apparently means coitus interruptus, as Edgehill was the last but one stop on one of Liverpool's urban rail/bus routes. Keith Cooper, Dinan, France

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5. When I was at boarding school, playing monopoly became a euphemism for sex. The reason was that a female student was discovered in a sixth form boy's bedroom, something that was strictly forbidden. The next day the headmaster announced they had been expelled after being caught "playing monopoly". All the students knew what they'd really been doing. Tim Isaac, Exeter, UK

6. A few years ago, I was working for a company where the director and his PA were having an ill-disguised affair (he denied it - she'd pass on the explicit details). When leaving early for some "afternoon delight" he would say to her "do you want a lift to Tesco's?" and off they would go. Thereafter a lift to Tesco became code for any kind of illicit meeting. Allen, Gravesend, UK

7. If we are talking about something that happened before I was born, my dad will say "...when you were cutting peats in Africa". Rachel Macdonald, Scotland via Facebook

Milkman with two milk bottles Not *that* sort of milkman

8. When I lived in small country on the island of Borneo (an alcohol-free state) I was told it was possible to have alcohol brought in from a neighbouring country and delivered to your door for a small fee. The anonymous deliverer was commonly known as the milkman. David

9. During my first university interview, I was asked if I'd ever read any Austen - my mind went completely blank (I have!). When I came out I was describing it to my parents and pulled a frowning, open-mouthed confused face. Any situation when faced with something you have no clue about is now known as an "Austen moment" and has to be accompanied by the stupid face. Hannah Thomas via Facebook

10. My husband and I met as students and our first date was to a see a film with pizza for afterwards. I favoured a particular pizza called Seafarer which we duly had on our first date. Over the years, I would order or get my husband to order this same pizza. Nearly 20 years later, my husband tried to order a different pizza. When questioned, he admitted he didn't actually like it and had eaten it all those years just to please me. His brother and wife have subsequently coined the phrase "it's a seafarer moment" when someone goes along with what their other half wants just because they love them. F Usman, Nottingham, UK

11. I am from the US, but after years of watching Keeping Up Appearances, everyone in my family knows what an Onslo is. Susan Jones via Facebook

12. A man at my dad's workplace told his wife he was "nipping out for a cabbage", left the house and didn't return for 14 years. Now if somebody walks out on their partner, we say they nipped out for a cabbage. Can also be used to end a row: "That's it, I'm nipping out for a cabbage [door slam]." Claire Deakin via Facebook

Start Quote

When someone has broken wind, enquire as to who has cut the cheese”

End Quote George Droy, Houston

13. Going to visit my aunt - my nan's code for "powdering her nose". Not sure if it was Aunt Lou she was visiting. Elizabeth Smythe via Twitter

14.To polish the cat - a phrase I used when a junior at an advertising studio, to mean that the prospect of doing something as a group in the near future was so boring or uninteresting that one could not be bothered. "Sorry, I've got to polish the cat" was said jokingly, meaning whatever I was doing, I wasn't interested in being social out of work, or to attend a particular event. Mark Francis, Lewisham, London

15. A friend moved in with his girlfriend. The following weekend, when we asked if they were coming to the pub, he replied, "No, we're cleaning the carpets." Carpet-cleaning is now used as a term for passionate love-making. Sara Beaumont, Ontario via Facebook

16. Having served in the Royal Navy for 33 years, I heard many euphemisms but one that particularly springs to mind is wardroom fire party. The wardroom is the officers' mess and the fire party is a team of fire-fighting and damage repair specialists on constant duty on board a vessel (one team in each watch). There is a feeling amongst many senior and junior ratings (ratings are non-officers in a ship) that anything resembling a foul-up or complete mess can seem akin to the wardroom providing the fire party - they would be absolutely hopeless and clueless as to what to do. For example, if a ship was to suffer a major incident or machinery breakdown and was floundering or in danger, then the situation could be described as being like a wardroom fire party. Stephen A Bielby, Lee-on-the-Solent, UK

17. In the 1960s we used to follow a rock group called The Crazy World of Arthur Brown. Their show used to include fireworks, smoke, fire and noxious smells. As students we conjured up the phrase "I've done an Arthur Brown" whenever we passed wind. Barry Hickey, Devizes

18. Just off to ride my bike round town - going to the bathroom in Ilkeston, Derbyshire. David Reeves, Isleworth, UK

19. While at the University of Wales Lampeter, a friend acquired a new girlfriend, and promptly disappeared off the radar for two weeks. He finally reappeared, and when asked where he'd been, he blushed and blurted out that he'd been shopping in Tregaron (a village up the road with three shops, one of which sold nothing but cattle feed). Shopping in Tregaron instantly entered our friendship group's vocabulary, and years later is still in use. Thomas Jones, Milton Keynes, UK

20. Where I used to work, someone at a nearby desk broke wind loudly while a customer was on the phone to us. The customer asked if someone was "moving furniture" and the phrase stuck for the regrettably numerous later occasions that we were able to use it. Ed Loach via Facebook

21. My new wife rented dinner one night on our honeymoon, meaning the delicious meal we had was a temporary loan and was returned via the toilet bowl after too many glasses of wine and mojitos were subsequently consumed. Jules, Bristol, UK

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