Is there a formal single word for 'emit anal air'? I've heard 'eructate' being used, but this means air from the mouth only; not from the other end.

  • 5
    Look up 'flatulate'. – Edwin Ashworth Apr 18 '14 at 17:04
  • 3
    Words can have spaces in them, like break wind or pass gas. Not that those are “formal”. One does not speak of these matters at all in the most formal of settings, where they are taboo. Therefore no formal word will be found. For that matter, anal is probably also best left unsaid there — you perhaps mean “from one’s backside”. – tchrist Apr 18 '14 at 18:30
  • Perhaps "technical" would be a better descriptor than "formal". As in "How would this phenomenon be identified in an academic paper?" – smithkm Apr 18 '14 at 19:19
  • @tchrist: No, those are phrases. Not a (single) word. – smci Sep 19 '15 at 9:05

Flatulence: the presence of too much gas or air in the stomach or intestines.

The action would be flatulate: To emit digestive gases from the anus, especially with accompanying sound.

Fart is the slang form.

After long hours of scouring the etymology of 'noisy bowels', I came across this gem.

Borborygm: The noise made by gas in the bowels.

Thought I'd share in my discovery.

  • 1
    Is fart slang for flatulate? I thought fart was a much older term and probably not really slang at all, until the Victorians got a whiff of it. – Frank Apr 18 '14 at 18:13
  • 5
    Fart is in fact the English form. Anybody who says flatulate will be taken as having attempted a joke. And failed, probably. The formal term is 'wind from the bowels'; Benjamin Franklin wrote a treatise on this subject. – John Lawler Apr 18 '14 at 18:14
  • 3
    No, fart is clearly not “slang”, which is as defined as one of: (a) The special vocabulary used by any set of persons of a low or disreputable character; language of a low and vulgar type. (b) The special vocabulary or phraseology of a particular calling or profession; the cant or jargon of a certain class or period. (c) Language of a highly colloquial type, considered as below the level of standard educated speech, and consisting either of new words or of current words employed in some special sense. – tchrist Apr 18 '14 at 18:40
  • 5
    Um, Wiktionary is not a reliable source for technical terms like "slang", since absolutely anybody, with any, or no, knowledge of the language can contribute. It's good for collecting general meanings, but terrible for sociolinguistics, like any general dictionary. – John Lawler Apr 18 '14 at 18:46
  • 9
    Didn't say it wasn't rude. But it's not slang. It's the ordinary word, taboo and all. Slang is ephemeral and goes "23 Skidoo" very fast, while taboo words are the oldest and healthiest words in the language, because everybody has to know what they are in order not to use them. – John Lawler Apr 18 '14 at 18:59

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.