Bum / Butt / Buttocks / Bottom

Discussion in 'English Only' started by Rivendell, Oct 1, 2007.

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  1. Rivendell

    Rivendell Senior Member

    Madrid
    Spanish / Spain
    Hi,

    Can you help me with the words above?? I would like to know the most appropriate option for different contexts. For example:

    - Kids / babies: "I'm going to clean your bum and change your nappy/diaper"

    - Doctor: "I must give you a shot on your buttocks"

    - Friends: "Jenny, stop smacking my butt!!"

    Are all the contexts given above correct or would you use a different option?? Maybe you can illustrate it with some more examples...

    Thanks in advance!!
     
  2. cuchuflete

    cuchuflete Senior Member

    Maine, EEUU
    EEUU-inglés
    For AE, butt is common, idiomatic, and lower register than buttocks, bottom, or posterior. The last is little used, sounds old fashioned and stuffy. Backside is also colloquial and common.
     
  3. panjandrum

    panjandrum PongoMod

    Belfast, Ireland
    English-Ireland (top end)
    All of the examples you give sound AE to me.

    Bum, in BE, is one of those words that school kids like to snigger about - as in the immortal line of the song by Flanders and Swann - Pee, po, belly, bum, drawers. I went in search of the lyrics - and look what appeared on the first page:
    Buttocks / Bottom / Arse - How Offensive -

    You should find some useful information in that thread, including the relevant lyrics, quoted by one panjandrum :)

    The most general-purpose term, in my experience, is bottom - used in any context without causing any offence.
     
  4. Rivendell

    Rivendell Senior Member

    Madrid
    Spanish / Spain
    Thanks Panj!! I had already gone through that link (and read your funny song) (by the way... has 'drawers' got a second meaning??). The thing is that I want to make sure I use the correct term in every situation (you know you must be careful with these words) :).

    So, guys, do you think "bum" is correct for kids or "butt" is better??

    Also, I see "bottom" is ok for Irish ears, but it sounds old-fashioned to the Americans ("backside" is a nice one, thank you, Cuchuflete, and thanks for your useful corrections).
     
  5. panjandrum

    panjandrum PongoMod

    Belfast, Ireland
    English-Ireland (top end)
    I expect there are lots of cultural variations in the use of these terms.
    Here, bum was very much frowned on when I was a child, bottom was fine.
    I notice that bum is now much more widely used by adults than before.

    Butt is very AE, but the influence of US TV means that it is often used here.

    (Drawers - an undergarment for the lower part of the body, and legs.)
     
  6. nichec

    nichec Senior Member

    Chinese(Taiwan)/English(AE)
    I will second that "bottom" is not that common in AE, and "butt" is the most common one.

    I usually avoid saying it altogether, whatever term it is.

    Drawers are underpants in BE, if I am not mistaken. http://forum.wordreference.com/showthread.php?t=593640&highlight=boxers
     
  7. The Scrivener Banned

    On the "naughty step".
    England. English
    Thanks to the book, "Does My Bum Look Big in This?"
     
  8. sdgraham

    sdgraham Senior Member

    Oregon, USA
    USA English
    Note that "bum" in the U.S. usually refers to a homeless person, i.e. beggar, hobo or (metaphorically) a person of little worth. It was also an informal nickname for the former Brooklyn Dodgers baseball team (now in Los Angeles)

    Giving somebody "the bum's rush" is a metaphor related to hustling a beggar out the door.

    I didn't know that in BE, "bum" referred to the derrière until I spent some time working in the U.K.

    We commonly referred to the "bottoms" of our children when they were small.
     
  9. EmilyD Senior Member

    Rhode Island
    U.S., English
    This thread speaks to the use of "bum" in the U.S.

    Bom/ homeless / bum

    Also commonly heard in these parts: rear end.

    Entering the vernacular in the NewYork metropolitan area is: tush and tushie,
    which derive from the Yiddish, tuchus. ;) !

    Nomi
     
  10. Matching Mole

    Matching Mole Senior Member

    England, English
    That's what I would say too (from a UK perspective). We have a phrase "as smooth as a baby's bottom": this may be why I associate the two words.

    Kids / babies: "I'm going to clean your bum and change your nappy"

    "Bum" here does not sound quite right (in reference to a baby), not that I am saying it isn't possible, but it sounds somewhat inappropriate.

    I agree that the use of "bum" amongst adults when referring to one's (or someone else's) figure, is quite common. It's often in the context of fitting into clothes, or of a person's appearance in that region.
     
  11. bibliolept

    bibliolept Senior Member

    Northern California
    AE, Español
    I've heard people use "bum" in AE when they're afraid that "butt" would be inappropriate or impolite. Of course, "bum" has the meanings "to beg," "a beggar," or "faulty."
     
  12. wildan1

    wildan1 Moderando ma non troppo

    bum is borrowed from BE, something we hear in movies or on TV. But I think alot of AE speakers wouldn't catch the meaning of it as an equivalent to butt... It certainly wouldn't make little kids snicker; they are all about butts!
     
  13. zpoludnia swiata Senior Member

    chile english, spanish, german
    More terms for that part: "petite derriere" (ironic), "money-maker" or "booty" (what you shake).
    In some cases it also depends on collocation. In Am English, "big ol'" would precede "butt", not "bottom".
     
  14. ayupshiplad Senior Member

    Edinburgh
    Scotland, English
    Only say 'booty' if you're pretending to be gangster though ;) (However it might be different in AE)

    As some others have said, saying 'butt' in Britain would seem strange and out of place, but for me the usage of 'bum' (sometimes even 'bumbum' between friends) is normal. There is also the word 'botty' which is used for children by the way, but I don't think it's that widespread.

    Oh and don't forget there is a verb 'to bum', which has two meanings. The first being the obvious, the second meaning 'to scaff' (sorry, I'm pretty sure that's slang, but it's the only synonym I can think of!)
     
  15. bibliolept

    bibliolept Senior Member

    Northern California
    AE, Español
    AE summary:
    Use "butt," "bottom," and "rear end," with "butt" being the most popular. "Bottom" and "rear end" (and others like "fanny") are often used euphemistically. "Ass" is considered to be profane, but is probably about as popular as "butt."

    "Booty" is limited to certain senses (like dancing) or to certain social groups or specific phrases.
     
  16. Rivendell

    Rivendell Senior Member

    Madrid
    Spanish / Spain
    Wow, so many different opinions!! I'll try to summarize:

    In AE:

    - Bum: its first meaning is beggar. It is only used for butt, in certain areas as inherited from the British, but only for adults talking about their shape. Never for kids.

    - Butt is the most commonly used even with kids and amongst kids.

    - Bottom is fine with / amongst kids. (??)

    - Backside, rear end are formal widespread synonims. There are others used locally such as tush, etc...

    In BE:

    - Bum is commonly used amongst adults. Not usually with / amongst kids.

    - Butt is not commonly used, though it's becoming more popular due to the American movies.

    - Bottom is fine in all the situations, even with / amongst kids.

    Do you agree with that or did I miss anything?? Then, should I tell a baby "I'm going to clean your bottom and change your nappy" instead??
     
  17. Joobs Banned

    In a house
    Glasgow, Scotland - English
    I wouldn't use "fanny" anywhere BE is spoken as it is a term for the female genitalia.

    "Ass" (or more correctly "arse") in BE, though not polite, isn't very rude and is often used in slightly jokey ways such as "You've kicked the arse out of that." meaning you've done something to extreme.
     
  18. Joobs Banned

    In a house
    Glasgow, Scotland - English
    Yes that sentence would be fine.
     
  19. olliemae

    olliemae Senior Member

    Kyoto, Japan
    New Zealand/America, English
    Oh yes, I had a bit of an embarrassment with that one. There's a small bag on a strap that goes around your waist. In AE we call it a fanny pack, because it sits on your tush, but if you say that in England...
     
  20. wildan1

    wildan1 Moderando ma non troppo

    booty in AE is an originally black expression for (big) butt
    Often heard in set expressions:

    shake your booty - dance
    booty call - contacting someone for casual sex
     
  21. wildan1

    wildan1 Moderando ma non troppo

    Arse is completely unkown in AE to the point that people who aren't familiar with BE or the UK might not recognize it as spelled thus (though pronounciation is close enough to AE to catch it in speech).

    Ass is the correct AE word for this, and it is pronounced exactly like its homonym, a synonym for a donkey. Obviously we don't use that word to speak about donkeys very often, unless they are being obnoxious...

    I think it's a bit stronger in impact in AE than arse is in BE, based on Joobs' comment. You would not use it with a child, for example, unless in anger.
     
  22. EmilyD Senior Member

    Rhode Island
    U.S., English
    When I first heard people using the term "bum" casually to mean butt(ocks), I was truly knocked for a loop. I had lived for 18 years in New York and heard virtually all the other terms.

    In Rhode Island, a small but densely populated state, it is commonly used.

    e.g.:
    Adult day care worker (to children) : "Everyone needs to sit with their bums on the rug!" (as opposed to on their knees...)

    Nomi
     
  23. Musical Chairs Senior Member

    Japan & US, Japanese & English
    School aged children would used "butt". Teenagers use "butt" and "ass" (which is not as profane to them as it is to older generations). This is probably because there are many other ways to use "ass".

    "Booty" (or "bootay") means "butt" but nobody would say "there is gum on my booty". A "ghetto booty" is someone who has a really big butt (like black women often do) or "kick bootay" means "kick ass".

    Edit: Bum, buttocks, and bottom aren't really used in daily speech unless you're older maybe. There is also "buns" but I hear this used mostly in the context of exercise (like "tone your buns").
     
  24. ayupshiplad Senior Member

    Edinburgh
    Scotland, English
     
  25. ayupshiplad Senior Member

    Edinburgh
    Scotland, English
    Isn't there a band or something in the U.S called 'Fannypack'? I remember my friends and I all puzzling over that one..."Why would you call yourself after something for your lady parts?!"

    I never knew that Americans didn't know 'arse' unless they were familiar with BE. Here, people say ass as well because it's not technically considered swearing (I don't think), so it's more acceptable than saying arse in certain circumstances, which is considered swearing (though not strongly).
     
  26. daviesri Senior Member

    Houston, TX
    USA English
    As kids we were not allowed to say "butt" as it was seen by most families as offensive (60's and 70's). "Butt" is far more common now in AE now, but some people still find it rude. My daughter and her friends tend to use "rear-end" and "bottom" since "butt" is seen by many elders as a tacky word.
     
  27. olliemae

    olliemae Senior Member

    Kyoto, Japan
    New Zealand/America, English
    I almost forgot 'trunk', as in "I've got some junk in my trunk", meaning that my bum is a little larger than it ought to be.
     
  28. wildan1

    wildan1 Moderando ma non troppo

    fanny is indeed quite an innocent, even a "cute" word in AE. (Of course, it also can be a woman's name, although I haven't come across many who are still alive...)

    A doting grandmother might say, "You better calm down or I'll spank your fanny!" to a little grandson, half-jokingly.

    Based on definitions provided in this thread, I guess the AE equivalent for BE fanny that could be coochie or poon. Of course, the "cute" description for this (among adults) is "The Promised Land"...


    The bag is called a fanny pack because it is on a belt that allows you to swivel it around to the back, where it sits on top of the (AE) fanny.

    What would one call this in BE, anyway?
     
  29. nzseries1

    nzseries1 Senior Member

    London
    New Zealand - English
    As far as I know, it's a bum bag.
     
  30. wildan1

    wildan1 Moderando ma non troppo

    Yes, of course, that's logical!

    And yet with no context an AE speaker could well imagine it referred to what this fellow is carrying. (A bum's bag)
     
  31. cuchuflete

    cuchuflete Senior Member

    Maine, EEUU
    EEUU-inglés
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