Piss is the vulgar word we use for urine or the act of urinating. As a verb, it means ‘to urinate.’ But piss has many other meanings, depending on the adverb we use it with. For example, piss away means ‘to waste’ something, such as money, time, or an opportunity. In the UK, piss off means ‘to leave a place,’ but to piss someone off is to make them angry, in both the US and the UK. Mostly in the UK, people also use piss to intensify adjectives with a negative connotation.
- A strong smell of piss was coming from the restroom.
- John headed to the bathroom for a piss.
- I saw a man pissing by the side of the road.
- You’ve had plenty of chances, but you’ve pissed them all away!
- Melanie told her annoying little brother to piss off.
- Come on, this bar is boring; let’s piss off somewhere else.
- Bad drivers really piss me off!
- Growing up, my family was piss-poor; some months we couldn’t even pay the electricity bill!
In UK English the piss can also refer to alcohol and drinking alcohol, so if you want to go out and get drunk, you might phone a friend and ask if he/she fancies going out on the piss with you. A session of heavy drinking is a piss up. Also in UK English, the related adjective pissed means drunk. Example: “Lindsay’s only had two glasses of wine and she’s already pissed!” In US English, if you say someone is pissed, it means they are angry (in UK English, we would say “pissed off,” which you can also use in US English).
Did you know?
If you say someone “doesn’t have a pot to piss in” that means that they are very poor. The expression comes from a time when urine was used to tan leather, so poor people would sell their urine to tanneries.
Piss dates back to the late 13th century. The Middle English verb pissen (to urinate) came from the Old French pissier (to urinate), which in turn came from the Vulgar Latin verb pisiāre. Its origin is imitative, meaning that it formed from an imitation of the sound of urination. The noun comes from the verb, and dates back to the late 14th century.