Communal peeing: a new mode of flood control in ants

Mark Odegard markodegard at HOTMAIL.COM
Sun Apr 1 18:34:30 UTC 2001

The April 2000 issue of _Natural History_ mentions an article by Ulrich
Maschwitz and Joachim Moog (p. 18, col. 3 'Flood Relief'). The abstract is
found here, with a link to the pdf-format article (if you are a subscriber
to Spring's online stuff).

Putting 'peeing' into the title of a peer-reviewed scientific article says
something the acceptability of 'peeing' as formal English, at least to

For myself, 'peeing', 'go pee', etc., is the usual colloquial term. It's the
one you use with small children. There is nothing 'dirty' about the terms,
but it's one you use with discretion. I would not have used it in formal
written English.

So. Has 'peeing' attained the status of *formal* English?

It occurs to me that, for ants, 'urination' might not be technically correct
(I don't know if insects form urine, or even if they have a urinary tract
parallel to that in higher animals), so some other word or term might be
appropriate, but the choice of 'peeing' does call attention to itself.

The actual text of the abstract puts the word into quotes, indicating the
authors were aware there might be some raised eyebrows about the usage.

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