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Taking the piss.

What does "taking the piss" mean in British slang ?



"Take the piss" may be a reference to a related (and dated) idiomatic expression, piss-proud, which is a vulgar pun referring to the morning erections which happen when a man awakens at the end of a dream cycle (each about 90 minutes in length throughout the night) or may be caused by a full bladder pressing upon nerves that help effect an erection. This could be considered a "false" erection, as its origin is physiological, not psychosexual, so in a metaphoric sense, then, someone who is "piss-proud" would suffer from false pride, and taking the piss out of them refers to deflating this false pride, through disparagement or mockery. As knowledge of the expression's metaphoric origin became lost on users, "taking the piss out of" came to be synonymous with disparagement or mockery itself, with less regard to the pride of the subject.


Conversely, the North East of England also lays claim to the phrase's origin, citing the urine trade which was seen as an undesirable cargo for sailors working from the River Tyne. Because the city collected urine from public facilities and exported a refined version of it, it was often used as ship's ballast in place of water - having a resale value at the other end of the journey. Consequently, sailors discussing their cargo in local establishments would genially accuse others reputed to be lying about their cargo of "taking the piss", or hauling urine.


"Take the mickey" may be an abbreviated form of the Cockney rhyming slang "take the Mickey Bliss", a euphemism for "take the piss." It has also been suggested that "mickey" is a contraction of "micturition,"[in which case "take the micturition" would be a synonymous euphemism for "take the piss." The phrase has been noted since the 1930s.


TOO POOR TO HAVE A POT TO PISS IN

People would collect their piss and sell it to the tanneries in the north and was a way of poor people making some money and if you were really poor, then you could not even afford a pot to piss in.


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