Global Period Euphemisms – The Slanguage Of Our Periods

According to research carried out by the period tracking app Clue, there are approximately 5,000 different period euphemisms used around the world. That’s a lot of different alternative words for a period!

We’ve sat down and tried to list the ones we know and can literally count them on both hands Try it, it’s harder than you think. Interestingly, period euphemisms vary widely across different countries, and we want to share some of the more common ones with you today. But before we do, let’s take a look at where period euphemisms came from in the first place.

What Are Period Euphemisms?

The word ‘period’ comes from the Greek words “peri” (meaning ‘around’) and “hodos” (meaning ‘way’ or ‘path’). This then evolved into the Latin word “periodus” (meaning ‘recurring cycle’).

Slang terms for periods might seem like a relatively modern concept, but they have actually been around for centuries. Historically, period euphemisms included the words ‘them’ or ‘those’ during the seventeenth century and the term ‘Eve’s curse’ was often used as a profanity. It’s no wonder that with such negative connotations the discourse surrounding menstruation has continued to be so derogatory.

Period euphemisms are still widely used today, with people admitting to using them around 78% of the time. And this unfortunately only seems to further the stigma associated with having a period, which let’s remind ourselves, is a perfectly natural body function experienced by roughly half the population at some point in their lives. There are many questions raised here like, was it men who first invented period euphemisms? (invariably so), are they still mostly used by men? (probably), and are period euphemisms mostly deprecatory? (pretty much, yes).

Before we get well and truly on our soap box, let’s check out some of the more popular period euphemisms from around the world.

Popular Period Euphemisms From Around The World

We’ve broken the list down by country so that you can see what other people around the world are calling their periods:


  • Aunt Flo/Auntie Flo
  • Time of the month
  • Bloody Mary
  • On the blob
  • Having the painters/decorators in


  • On the rag
  • Checking into the red roof inn
  • Red wedding
  • The red badge of courage
  • Uncle Tom


  • Shark week
  • Surfing the crimson wave/tide
  • Lady time


  • Tomato juice
  • Emma
  • The cranberry woman is coming
  • Strawberry week
  • The red plague


  • The carrots are cooked
  • The little clown with a nose bleeding
  • The English have landed
  • Ketchup week


  • Blue day
  • The red panda
  • The monthly things
  • Blood festival


  • Red Sea
  • Red balloon
  • We have guests


  • Defrosting the steak
  • Little red riding hood
  • Your devils
  • Being broken


  • Mad cow disease
  • Lingonberry week
  • How’s the volcano?
  • There are Communists in the funhouse

Central/South America

  • I’m with Chico
  • I’m with Andrew, the one that comes every month

It’s Time To Change The Narrative

Using alternative words for periods is arguably not the worst thing in the world. It’s just bants, right? They’re funny, what’s the harm? However, it runs much deeper than that, because ultimately it highlights a culture where women are made to feel embarrassed to talk about their monthly cycles. It makes what is a normal, natural female experience seem shameful, dirty, a taboo subject.

While attitudes are slowly starting to shift, there is still a long way to go. Girls are a lot more open these days when it comes to talking about periods, certainly in the UK at least. But there are still stigmas attached. Why do we still feel the need to hide tampons up our sleeves when we go to the loo, for example?

The future of period discourse lies with women. It is our narrative and therefore we should by rights be the ones who control how periods are spoken about. What we as females can do in the meantime, is to make sure we don’t continue to use these euphemisms and to also call out and correct anyone we hear using them. Because ultimately, we should just be calling it what it is… period.