piss in the water

  • carolineR

    Senior Member
    France
    Sorry I can't provide the context, I read the phrase somewhere some time ago, wrote it down and can't remember where I read it... Yes, thank you LV4, I suppose all these phrases amount to the same idea : doing something useless and futile :)
     

    RocketGirl

    Senior Member
    Canada, English
    Hi Caroline.

    I've never heard that one before, although my guess would be the same as yours. I imagine someone peeing in a lake or some large body of water where it will only get diluted anyway.

    It's not very common anyway, at least not in my circles :cool:
     

    germinal

    Senior Member
    England English
    Hi Caroline.

    I've never heard that one before, although my guess would be the same as yours. I imagine someone peeing in a lake or some large body of water where it will only get diluted anyway.

    It's not very common anyway, at least not in my circles :cool:
    Pissing in the ocean would make more sense but only as a saying - not the action itself, if say you were trying to raise the sea-level. I imagine it might be used as a lame excuse for not contributing to a charity that tries to combat mass poverty etc.

    Pissing into the wind seem a slightly different proposition as it suggests performing an action which brings an immediate unfortunate result for the pisser.
     

    Nunty

    Modified
    Hebrew-US English (bilingual)
    There is also "peeing" in the swimming pool. (Sorry, I just can't bring myself to type the original word; they mean the same.) Peeing in the swimming pool means ruining something nice that you share with others.
     

    . 1

    Banned
    Australian Australia
    I heard a beauty from an old Irishman, Tommy O'Rourke, to describe someone who has just made an extraordinary mistake and was about to face the consequences.
    "Well you've pissed in the pickle jar."

    .,,
     

    WithFalseFire

    New Member
    English, USA
    I'm not sure why so few people have heard this phrase, but it has a pretty simple explanation.
    If you piss in the the (communal) water, everyone will have to use/drink pissed in water, including you.

    kind of like "Don't cut off your nose to spite your face"

    So in effect- "Don't piss in the water" = "Don't do it you idiot, it'll have negative effects for everyone, including you."
     

    mjscott

    Senior Member
    American English
    I thought that pissing in the water was like cutting off your nose to spite your face. Why would you do that? You will only be pissing in the water (that you later have to drink) if you do that....
     
    I think it means doing something which won't really make any difference to a situation. Peeing in the water is rather a futile gesture which doesn't noticeably change the volume, so why bother?

    We have a lovely saying in the UK about someone peeing in the sea -

    "Every little helps," said the old lady as she peed in the sea."





    LRV
     

    ash93

    Senior Member
    England, United Kingdom - English but can speak Urdu, Memon and Hindi
    I imagine it is something along the lines of doing an action that will later get back to you. Like pissing in the water which you yourself will have to drink later on.
     

    eardstapa

    New Member
    English - British/Canadian
    I just found this thread. For me “piss in the water” is a metaphor meaning be deliberately uncouth, cause a fuss, be obnoxious. When males use a toilet, they can aim. Making a noise by peeing in the water is/was considered uncouth by some people in the UK. I was a child there in the ‘50’s and was explicitly told to aim so that it didn’t hit the water. I’m not sure if this is a class thing or whether it is still something people stigmatize. (My family was upwardly mobile middle class.)
     
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