Jump to Main ContentJump to Primary Navigation

From Aunt Flo to shark week: there are over 5,000 euphemisms used to describe periods


Americans call it 'the crimson wave' (Cher, we're looking at you), Germans describe it as a 'strawberry week' and, here in the UK, we refer to it as 'that time of the month'.

Yep, we're talking about the names we use to describe our periods.

A new global survey, which included 90,000 people from over 190 countries, found there are no less than 5,000 euphemisms used to describe menstruation.

From the visual ('on the rags') to the bizarre ('shark week'), there are all manner of words and expressions used in place of the humble 'period'.


The survey was undertaken by Clue, a period-tracking app, along with the International Women’s Health Coalition, and is thought to be the largest and most comprehensive of its kind.

The most frequently used names to describe periods were Aunt Flo, time of the month, on the rags, red tide, monthly friend and lady time. Other English language entries included Bloody Mary, blob, having the painters in and shark week, which was favoured by Australians.

In Sweden, a period is referred to as ‘Lingonveckan' (lingonberry week) while the Germans are likely to call it ‘Erdbeerwoche’ (strawberry week). Bizarrely, the French call it ‘Les Anglais ont debarqué’, which translates to 'the English have landed'.


The survey, which aimed to examine the societal pressures and taboos that affect women during their period, also found that while 86% of participants were comfortable talking to women about their periods, only 36% were comfortable discussing them with men.

And almost one-fifth of the respondents (17%) reported skipping work or school due to a fear that others would discover they were on their period.

Ida Tin, co-founder and CEO of Clue, believes the results of the survey to be representative of a damaging stigma surrounding women and their periods.

Speaking on the issue, she told the Washington Post, “For you to understand your body and take care of your body you have to first not be ashamed of this part of your life.

"Without cycles there would be no humans on this planet, it’s that fundamental. That taboo is left over from the dark ages.”


travel hero.PNG

Meet Instagram's most inspiring solo female travellers


Mother's Day gift ideas she'll actually like


Model hits back at racist comments on Mac’s Instagram account


Reformation launches sustainable bridal dress line under £500


Get excited: the world’s first bunny spa is coming to London


Generation XXX: is there such a thing as feminist porn?


Husband plants thousands of flowers for his blind wife to smell


Deliciously sad bakes capture messages of heartache

Credit Suszi Lurie McFadden.jpg

Widow, Lucy Kalanithi, on how to grieve and breathe after death



30 beautiful constellation and astronomy ear piercings

Get on board with the latest piercing trend

by Sarah Biddlecombe
21 Oct 2016

This is the one reason you need to wash your makeup brushes

Be right back, we've got some cleaning to do

by Sarah Biddlecombe
19 Oct 2016

YouTube star Tanya Burr defends the blogging industry

“Bloggers don't deserve to be vilified”

by Sarah Biddlecombe
14 Oct 2016

“I dream in perfume”: Jo Malone on her life in fragrance

The perfumier tells Stylist of how her remarkable sense of smell has shaped her entire life

by Harriet Hall
14 Oct 2016

Harry Potter make-up is here just in time for Halloween

You can now wear a love potion on your lips

by Sarah Biddlecombe
12 Oct 2016

MAC’s new Nutcracker-inspired make-up collection is truly magical

Totally dreamy.

by Moya Crockett
12 Oct 2016

Tiffany Blue nails are now achievable

"I believe in manicures"

by Anna Pollitt
10 Oct 2016

Read my lips: Stylist pays homage to the high-impact lip trend

Bold lips for autumn winter

by Joanna McGarry
10 Oct 2016

How smart is your vagina?

From smart vibrators to clever kegels, technology’s new frontier

by The Stylist web team
03 Oct 2016

Acne could hold the key to youthful looks, says study

And not because it makes you look like a teenager.

by Moya Crockett
28 Sep 2016