red houses with speech bubbles

Katrin Freidman

Gender Equality

Top euphemisms for “period” by language

  • Share this article on Twitter
  • Share this article on Facebook
  • Share this article with WhatsApp
An image for a banner advertisement for the Ruby cup product

Last week we published the findings of our international period survey. With the help of our international community (190 countries and counting!), we discovered over 5,000 euphemisms for the word "period." And a ton of interesting stats about education and cultural norms around menstruation.

Many of you reached out and asked if we could share more of the euphemisms we found. Here they are (see translations below):

German

  • Erdbeerwoche - Strawberry week

  • Rote Tante - Red aunt

  • Rote Armee - Red army (refers to the army of Soviet Russia or the Soviet Union)

  • Erdbeertage - Strawberry week

  • Rote Welle - Red wave

  • Rote Woche - Red week

  • Besuch der roten Tante - Red aunt is visiting

  • Mens - Short for "Menstruation"

  • Auf der roten Welle surfen - Riding the red wave

  • Emma - Emma (just a name)

  • Alarmstufe Rot - Code red alarm

  • Die rote Pest - The red plague

  • Besuch von Tante Rosa - Aunt Rose is visiting

  • Besuch aus Rotenburg - Relative from Rotenburg ("Red castle", a small town in Germany) are visiting

  • Ins rote Meer stechen - Entering the red sea

  • Tomatensaft - Tomato juice

French

  • Les Ragnagnas - Grumbling

  • La semaine Ketchup - Ketchup week

  • C'est une scène de crime dans ma culotte - It's a crime scene in my panty

  • Les équerres - It means "angle bracket." The joke is that you always carry your angle bracket (équerre) and ruler together to maths class (ruler=règle, which has the same spelling and sound than règles=period).

  • C'est la saison des fraises - It's strawberry season

  • Le Beaujolais nouveau est arrivé ! - The Beaujolais Nouveau wine has arrived (Beaujolais Nouveau Day is marked in France on the third Thursday in November with fireworks, music and festivals to celebrate the first wine of the season. Beaujolais is a light and young red wine.)

  • Les anglais ont débarqué dans ma culotte - The British army landed in my panty. It's related to the Napoleonic wars and the undesirable arrival of the English who wore red uniforms.

  • VHS (vaginalement hors service) - VOO (Vaginally Out of Order) The abbreviation VHS stands for Video Home System and is common in France

  • Les carottes sont cuites - The carrots are cooked. (It means there is nothing left to do to change the course of events. Carrots are the longest and always the last vegetable to be cooked in a stew. It also refers to the coded message send via BBC radio during WWII to tell the resistance of the upcoming invasion of Normandy.)

  • Le petit clown qui saigne du nez - The little clown with a nose bleeding

  • Contrôle technique - Technical control

  • Être en travaux - To be under construction / a work in progress

  • Faire du boudin - Cooking black Pudding

  • Les petits lutins rouges - The small little elves

  • Les chutes du Niagara - Niagara falls

Italian

  • Le mie cose - I have my things

  • Il marchese - The marquis

  • Sono arrivati i parent/la zia/gli ospiti - We have guests/aunt/relatives

  • E' arrivato Giorgio/Mario/Ugo/Smeo - Giorgio/Mario/Ugo/Smeo has arrived.

  • Mar Rosso - Red Sea

  • Sono indisposta - I feel sick

  • Semaforo rosso - Red light

  • E' quel periodo del mese - It's that time of the month

  • Settimana rossa - Red week

  • Palloncino rosso - Red balloon

  • Ho le inondazioni - I have a flood

Danish

  • Det røde - The red

  • Tante Rød - Aunt Red

  • Damedage - Lady days

  • Det Røde Hav - The Red Sea

  • Besøg fra Rødby - Visitors from Rødby

  • Den tid på måneden - That time of month

  • Malere i opgangen - Painters in the stairway

  • Rødbedeskede - Beetroot-vagina

  • Kommunister i lysthuset - Communists in the gazebo

  • Russerne - The Russians

Simplified Chinese

  • 大姨妈 - Eldest aunt

  • 来事 - The thing comes

  • 例假 - Regular holiday

  • 倒霉 - Bad luck

  • 来那个 - That comes

  • 好朋友 - Good friend

  • 老朋友 - Old friend

  • m到 - M arrives

  • 特殊情况 - Special situation

  • 不方便 - Not convenient

Traditional Chinese

  • 紅茶 - Red tea

  • 例假 - Regular holiday

  • 來那個 - That thing comes

  • 小紅 - Little red

  • 大姨媽 - Big auntie

  • 好朋友 - Good friend

  • 蘋果麵包 - Apple bread

  • 嚟 M - Period comes

  • 血腥瑪麗 - Bloody Mary

  • 親戚 - Relatives

Japanese

  • 月のもの - The monthly things

  • 女の子の日 - Girl's day

  • あれ - That

  • あの日 - The day of that

  • お客さん - Guest

  • 血祭り- Blood festival

  • ブルーデイ - Blue day

  • 月一 - Once a month

  • ガールズデイ - Girl's day

  • ペリー来航 - Arrival of Matthew Perry

Spanish

  • La regla - The rule

  • Andres (el que viene una vez por mes) - Andrew (who comes once in a month) rhyme

  • Estoy Indispuesta - I'm indisposed

  • Estar del Tomate - Be like a tomato (means: being crazy)

  • Cosas de Niñas/Chicas - Girl's stuff

  • Descongelar el Bistec - Defrosting the steak

  • Caperucita Roja - Little Red Ridding Hood

  • La Colorada - The redhead

  • Me bajo/Me vino - It came down

  • Tus diablos - Your devils

  • Estar "mala" / Estar "sonada" - Beeing bad/broken

  • La prima roja - The red cousin

  • Pancho - A male nickname, it also means hot dog and it could refer in some country to the Pad.

  • La luna - The moon

  • Semaforo Rojo - Red traffic light

  • Chapulin Colorado - A Mexican character (The Red Grasshopper )

  • El Vampiro - The vampire

  • Huele a Pescado - Smells like fish

Russian

  • Эти дни — These days

  • Критические дни — Critical days

  • Дела — Business

  • Красная армия — Red Army

  • Красный день календаря — Red day / days of the calendar

  • Гости (из Краснодара) — Guests from Krasnodar (name of city that starts with "Red")

  • Праздники — Holidays

  • Красные Жигули — Red Zhiguli (Russian car brand)

  • Монстры — Monsters

  • Месики — Mensies

Portuguese

  • Chico - Nickname for the male name Francisco

  • Naqueles dias - In those days

  • Joga o Benfica - Benfica plays - Portugues Futbol Club with a red Flag

  • Regra - The rule

  • O tempo do més - The time of the month

  • Monstra - Female monster

  • Vermelho - Red

  • Época - Era

  • De Visita - Visiting

  • Coisas de mulher - Women´s Stuff

  • Sinal vermelho - Red traffic Light

  • Misturação - Mixing (is a word game with the menstruação word)

  • Estar de bode - Being bad

  • Estar de Boi - Alludes to the sacrifice of the ox in the slaughterhouse

  • Quebrou bacia - Broke basin

  • Time - Team

  • Ta vindo, ta descendo - It's coming down

  • Maré vermelha - Red tide

  • Chovendo na horta - It's raining in the farm

Read more about our survey in Washington Post, Mashable, Business Insider, The Independent, The Guardian, VICE, Jezebel, Vogue, and Bustle.

An image for a square advertisement for the Ruby cup product
An illustration of a heart

Like what you're reading? Help us make more great stuff by supporting our research efforts. Contribute now

You might also like to read

Popular Articles