I didn't sleep well last night. I blame the appointment I have this afternoon at my fertility clinic for an Hystero Contrast Sonography. This will tell us if my tubes are still open and I hope with every fiber of my being that they are. The alternative makes me sick to my stomach. 

In honor of this "sick to my stomach" feeling...let's talk about vomit. I've got a whole cornucopia of options at my disposal.

Here’s my ranking of some common names for throwing up, determined by assessing grossness, clarity, creativity, and general usability.

Lose your lunch - This is about as coy as you can get when talking about vomit. Probably if you were hand-painting a tiny, delicate floral pattern onto some china and threw up, this is how you would describe it.

Toss your cookies - It always seems depressing to associate delicious cookies with vomit, but this is your only word choice option if you happen to be someone’s wacky aunt.

Hurl - It's is a pretty aggressive choice.

Puke - It seems like one of the more accepted terms among cool people and binge drinkers, especially when it comes to the concept of “puke and rally.” Though widely accepted, there’s just something inherently gross about how it sounds.

Up chuck - This one is insane. And it sounds way too much like “woodchuck.” If you know someone who uses this term on the reg, be wary.

Drive the porcelain bus/Kneel before the porcelain throne - This is trying way too hard. We get it, you’re talking about a toilet. If you’re someone who is way, way wacky, then maybe you can get away with this, but proceed with extreme caution.

Barf - It should be applauded for delicately walking the line between slang and crassness. It allows you to have fun without being too graphic. Fun fact...'Barf' as a term for vomiting originated in the 1940s, as did the term “barf city.”

Yak - It's lighthearted with an edge. Slightly more sophisticated than “barf,” but still not something you’d say to your grandmother. It loses clarity points for sharing its name with an animal.

Throwing up - It's simple and classic like a little black dress. It’s not too clinical and what it lacks in creativity it makes up for with no-frills appeal, which is what you want if you just threw up. While “throwing up” wins, it can still be problematic: for example, the overuse of “I just threw up inside my mouth a little.” Maybe try throwing up outside your mouth for once.

Retch - It can refer to both vomiting and attempted vomiting. Versatile.

Gagging - It's a good way to vomit with contempt, but it loses clarity points for its multiple definitions.

Blow chunks - This is by far the worst. The imagery, dear god, the imagery.

Which ones do you think are the least terrible?


  1. Ha! My husband (who is Austrian) and I tend to favour the very all-purpose Viennese dialect slang, 'kotz', which can refer to both the act and the feeling (and not only physically, but also when you are forced to encounter an unsavoury social situation, etc). Really versatile! Also, I can't believe I'm having *this* detailed an exchange about words for vomiting...

    I really hope your clinic appointment goes well and provides absolutely nothing kotz-worthy!

  2. Good luck today. My thoughts are with you!

  3. We use throwing up around here. My daughter busted out "barf" the other day and I have NO idea where she heard it. I blame the schools. :-)

    Thinking of you today and praying for a painless procedure.

  4. I'll go with 'throwing up'. Classic. I hope your procedure goes well!!

  5. yuck yuck yuck! I hope there is no getting sick of any kind or variety in your day. Pray things went well!

  6. You forgot "spew"! If you're gonna spew, spew in this!


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