In the second season, episode 4 of Derry Girls, in the last two minutes, the girls are caught trying to get rid of 'happy' scones, flushing them through the toilet, which gets clogged. In the next scene, someone asks Erin kindly:

How are your scoots now, Erin, love?

Considering the scene before it, I'd assume scoots here means bowels. But I've never heard this expression. I understand that dogs or cats can "scoot", and that as a verb it's a rather common word. But none of the dictionaries I consulted online (Oxford, Cambridge, Webster, The Free Online Dictionary) mentions such meaning as a noun at all. And it doesn't seem related to its meaning as a verb either.

Is this Irish slang? Or (not so) common use of the word in this meaning in common English? And more importantly, as non native speaker, is there some tongue-in-cheek I'm missing?

PS: Later, same scene, the word is used again:

Can we please stop talking about Erin's scoots, we're about to have our tea.

  • 4
    “The scoots” means diarrhea, but I’m having trouble finding a reasonable source. It’s definitely more BrE than AmE; I think our equivalent is “the runs”.
    – Dan Bron
    Commented Sep 18, 2019 at 23:28
  • You don't seem to have checked a dictionary first, though. Look for the singular and all its meanings.
    – Kris
    Commented Sep 19, 2019 at 11:10
  • @kris, interestingly, I did, assuming you mean a 'physical', paper dictionary. I own a Collins Cobuild, but my edition didn't have a relevant meaning.
    – Abel
    Commented Sep 24, 2019 at 22:46
  • I did not necessarily mean a "physical" resource. We need to at least google an expression before asking on this site. See answers below!
    – Kris
    Commented Sep 25, 2019 at 10:17
  • 2
    @kris, I know, and believe me, I tried, see my original question text. I tried 4 online dictionaries. Ultimately, I failed to see the link to the idiom section of the FOD, which was mentioned in the first answer. Apparently, the first commenter here had the same issue. Glad a good reference was ultimately found, though.
    – Abel
    Commented Sep 25, 2019 at 13:15

5 Answers 5


According to the free dictionary scoots means

(slang) Diarrhea

Which is in context with the scene you're describing.

  • 1
    Tx for this. I used the same dictionary, I thought, but you found a different entry for the same word (I had thefreedictionary.com/scoots), but without that meaning. And I agree it appears to be in the same direction. But 'your scoots'? As in 'how's your diarrhea'? But maybe that just adds to the rawness of the scene, I doubt that's a typical polite way of asking how you're doing ;)
    – Abel
    Commented Sep 24, 2019 at 22:53

'Squits' is a similar term commonly used in colloquial British English for diarrhoea. This meaning of the word is found in British dictionaries (Oxford, Collins, etc), but not in Merriam-Webster, so I guess it's not a common term in the US.

  • How does this add anything that isn't already in answers/comments? Commented Oct 5, 2020 at 10:27

Green’s Dictionary of Slang has usage examples from late 19th century. The term does not appear to be an Irish one.

scoot n. [euph. of shit n.]

diarrhoea; thus a general term of abuse; occas. in plural, the scoots.

  • 1890 - (UK) ‘’Arry on the Sincerest Form of Flattery’ in Punch 20 Sept. 144/2: Sech scoots scurryfunging around on the gay old galoot to go snacks / In the profits of other folks’ notions.

  • 1906 [US] J.W. Carr ‘Words from Northwest Arkansas’ in DN III:iii 155: scoot, n. Rascal. ‘He’s an old scoot’.

  • Interesting historical mention. Nice find!
    – Abel
    Commented Sep 24, 2019 at 22:55
  • Wonder if it's related to skitter, skite, which come from Old English scītan, same as shite; or related to "scoot" meaning to go quick, slide, from Old Norse *skióta*=to shoot.
    – Stuart F
    Commented Mar 23 at 12:40

Agreed that it is likely slang for diarrhea. OED: Pronunciation: Brit. /skuːt/, U.S. /skut/, Scottish /skut/ Forms: Also scout. Frequency (in current use):
Etymology: < scoot v.1 Scottish.

1880 Jamieson's Etymol. Dict. Sc. Lang. (new ed.) Scoot, 1. A gush or flow of water; also, the pipe or opening from which it flows. Clydes.


Possibly from the Gaelic “sciodor” diarrhea. In Derry often pronounced “skitter” in English. Hence “scoots”, very frequently used to refer to diarrhea in Derry where Gaelic/Irish words are found hidden among the English. Another phrase similarly from Irish to be heard in Derry is, “See ye lamara” “ I’ll see you tomorrow”, it’s not just a lazy way of pronouncing tomorrow but has it’s roots in the Gaelic word “amarach” which means tomorrow.

  • 1
    Please add a linked and attributed supporting reference to make this a 'good' ELU answer, Paul. Commented Feb 15, 2020 at 19:43
  • Skitter is Scots for diarrhoea, from Middle English and probably from Proto Germanic related to "skite" which has Old Norse and similar cognates. So I'd guess the Irish has come from that direction.
    – Stuart F
    Commented Mar 23 at 12:37

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