porcelain throne

Garson O'Toole adsgarsonotoole at GMAIL.COM
Wed Dec 14 04:12:26 UTC 2011

The BBC Radio quiz program "Quote ... Unquote" of Nigel Rees has a
website that lists queries. There is a query related to the recent
topic of the word "throne". This query was posted in 2009 (the list of
queries was updated October 18, 2011).


[Begin excerpt]
Q4015 The expression 'porcelain throne' for lavatory - as in, 'as I
sat on my porcelain throne ... ' - seems fairly recent in origin.  Any
thoughts on where it might have originated?
[End excerpt]

Here is a citation that has a GB date of 1952. I haven't verified this
on paper but it is probably accurate.

Cite: Circa 1952, A Cry of Children by John Horne Burns, GB Page 163,
Harper, New York. (Google Books snippet view; Not verified on paper;
Data may be inaccurate; WorldCat agrees with publication date)
[Begin excerpt]
Then she would sit a long time on her porcelain throne: she would
groan for half an hour, literally in travail with her bowels.
Sometimes I counted the pops of wind, that sounded like trombones.
[End excerpt]

American Slang (2008) by Barbara Ann Kipfer and Robert L. Chapman has
a phrase containing porcelain throne, but no date is given.
[Begin excerpt]
hug the porcelain god(dess) (or throne) v phr
To vomit in the toilet: Memorial day weekend hugging the porcelain god
[End excerpt]

The available volumes of the Historical Dictionary of American Slang
reach the letter "O". So the entries for "porcelain" and/or "throne"
if they exist are inaccessible.

There is no match for the phrase "porcelain throne" in the OED full text.

The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org

More information about the Ads-l mailing list