This is the full read-only archive of the "Ask the Wordwizard" section of the original Wordwizard site. The responses to the questions originate from Jonathon Green, the compiler of the Cassell Dictionary of Slang and numerous other dictionaries.
While the major terms for excreta concern themselves with the function of actually voiding waste matter from the body, that for urine, for all it that has equally venerable roots, is simply onomatopoeic. 'Piss', with its origins in Old French and Middle English, entered the modern language around 1290 and remained, as is typical of such latterday vulgarisms, in perfectly open use for the next seven hundred years and then, as the shadows of Victorian reticence gathered, vanished into the world of the taboo. In the last twenty or thirty years it seems to have made a comeback, though strictly on colloquial, not SE terms.ACCESS_POST_ACTIONS
Signature: Jonathon Green