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I want my friend to step aside from wash basin so that I can spit after brushing. What is a decent word for spitting? Is there a better statement to ask him to step aside?

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Spit is a decent word, nothing wrong with it. (Yes, in some cultures, the native idea of 'spitting' has seriously negative connotations, but that's not about the English word per se. ) – Kris Aug 28 '14 at 6:32
You could be more specific by saying "spit out," instead. – Kris Aug 28 '14 at 6:35
I can't help wondering how you ask your friend (politely or otherwise) to move aside, while your mouth is full of toothpaste. – Simon B Aug 28 '14 at 12:08
If you have a mouthful of stuff to spit, you can't talk anyway. Shove him or her aside and spit. – Oldcat Aug 28 '14 at 18:31
usually "mmm! mmm!" and pointing to your mouth gets the point across! :-) Seriously, if you can utter words with your mouth full of toothpaste, "excuse me a second" should work, no need to mention spitting - your roommate should get the context of your request. – Kristina Lopez Sep 4 '14 at 18:11

2 Answers 2

up vote 6 down vote accepted

Well, it's kind of a mouthful to say, but the clinical term is expectorate (definition from Merriam-Webster).

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That is an interesting term, but a bit unusual when brushing your teeth, I think :). – Josh61 Aug 28 '14 at 5:39
To expectorate is not from the 'mouth' of spittle, but from the 'throat/ lungs,' esp., of phlegm or congestion. – Kris Aug 28 '14 at 6:30
Thanks John. The word made my friend step aside instantly. He asked the meaning later:) – Sathish Aug 28 '14 at 9:39
@Kris: Check the definition. Yes, the first sense listed is as you say, but the second one is spit. Also, see the definition for spit. It uses expectorate right in the definition. I'm not just talking from dictionary lookups. I've seen and heard the word used, and it is very often (in my experience, more than half the time) used to mean, precisely, spit. – John Y Aug 28 '14 at 12:34
John, see the OP's friend's reaction which tells all. Avoid that horror-of-horrors. Good Luck. – Kris Aug 29 '14 at 5:01

I think you can use the more neutral expression 'to rinse one's mouth'.

  • Please step aside, I need to rinse my mouth!

To rinse:

  • To wash lightly with water.

It may be common practice, but rinsing your mouth after brushing your teeth isn't a good idea.


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