Victorian Slang of the Week – My Aunt

“I’m going to see my aunt” was a phrase mostly used by women from around 1850 onwards – meaning to go to the toilet.

This entry can’t bring itself to talk other than entirely in euphemisms though, so instead of WC we get the wonderful “closet of decency” and “house of office”.

On this page, I Also love “My Lord” – a nickname given to a hunchback. And “My nabs” – the phrase “his nibs” still exists but the version referring to yourself is now very obscure.

But “My aunt”, though. What does it mean? Is it this…….?

[If you haven’t seen Curb Your Enthusiasm, this is Not Safe For Work]


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4 Responses

  1. David Bishop says:

    The minute I saw this, I thought of ‘Curb…’! But surely the Victorians weren’t that rude. Surely..?

  2. David Bishop says:

    I also love ‘house of office’. And ‘closet of decency’ sounds like an instrument of torture. Or something from Game of Thrones…

  3. Estelle says:

    If it was a century earlier, I’d say that’s exactly what it meant! Love the idea that it might originally have come from there, and people were saying it not knowing the meaning. But who knows! I’ve not found an answer…

  4. Rosie says:

    Hi Estelle! I’m writing a PhD that looks at Victorian aunts so was thrilled to find this. I wondered if you could point me in the direction of any uses of ‘I’m going to see my aunt’. Thanks!

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