Small explosion between the legs

This blog entry is mainly about a billboard that says, “I pooted” (which I too find deliciously humorous) but that’s not the reason I’m linking to it. The reason I’m linking to it is because it confirms something which I had begun to ascribe to an overactive imagination.

Boy howdy, I’ll never, ever forget when I was in seventh grade and my old pal Marc ran up to me in our middle school library with this huge Cheshire grin on his face and said “Timmy, Timmy, guess what? I looked up ‘fart’ in the library dictionary and it said that it’s a ‘minor explosion between the legs’!!!!”

Sure enough, Marc was correct. Both our middle school library and my Grandpa Cook had matching Funk and Wagnalls unabridged dictionaries—yes, those ginormous, foot-thick ‘Wildebeast’ editions that I was physically incapable of lifting off of their wooden display stands. My buddies and I used to have so much fun looking up ‘dirty words’ and tittering wildly at the Victorian definitions we’d discover.

No foolin’—that dictionary defined fart as a “minor explosion between the legs.” Good lord. It has been 25 years since I performed that lookup. Time flies when you’re havin’ fun.

I had begun to doubt my childhood memories of the definition of fart in a dictionary we had at school, but this confirms it. Amazingly enough, some dictionary editors somewhere agreed to define fart as “an explosion between the legs.”


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  1. i had doubted that same childhood memory of stumbling upon that exact same humorous definition too. thanks for citing the source.

    Comment by kwhopson on December 27, 2007 @ 12:28 am
  2. My 19 year old daughter has just said the word fart. I’ve told her to look it up in a dictionary as she didn’t believe it meant ‘a small explosion between the legs’. I’m at my parents now and looked in their dictionary – where has it gone?
    So glad I was able to show her this site, which confirms what the definition was many moons ago!
    I’m off into my attic when I get home, I’m sure I’ve got an old dictionary there!!!
    I’m still rolling around the floor now – just as I did then! I do think it is the most appropriate word for the action.

    Comment by Katy M on October 29, 2008 @ 12:07 pm
  3. I had the same experience in 3rd grade, when a friend and I cracked up over this definition in the classroom dictionary. My husband has never believed me… until he read your post. Thanks for “clearing the air.”

    Comment by Tara on October 4, 2009 @ 9:43 pm
  4. @Tara You’re welcome. It’s always a good feeling to have our memories validated. Especially such a hilarious one :)

    Comment by Dan on October 4, 2009 @ 11:06 pm
  5. Yes, its true! I just googled that and found this site! I was also in about 6th or 7th grade when I looked that up in the dictionary. Glad I’m not the only one who remembers!!!

    Comment by Kristy on November 6, 2009 @ 8:37 pm
  6. did you go to st. joe school in kalamazoo michigan.. because your story is exactly what i remember about this… and it was in the 7th grade also… crazy.

    Comment by tina on January 11, 2010 @ 6:07 pm
  7. when i was in elementary school, around the mid to latter 1970’s, i went to the school library and looked up the definition as well and laughed my ass off. whenever i would tell someone about it later on that a fart was defined as an explosion between the legs they would be incredulous. dunno what prompted me to look this up now hehe

    Comment by pc93 on November 15, 2010 @ 2:53 am
  8. urgent help please!! I’m doing a presentation in a week about dictionaries. My earliest memory of using one is giggling under the covers with my twin with a torch and looking up the very word ‘fart’ with the same definition. I NEED TO FIND EVIDENCE (photo from the dictionary but cannot find it anywhere. Can anyone help please?

    Comment by jeanie on December 4, 2010 @ 2:53 am
  9. I had no idea the definition could change to the point of non existent. I read it about 1974 lived in Austin Texas out of a websters dictionary. People think I am crazy because there is no definition to be found. I did hear a while back an explanation of new words and changing words by a scholar, my argument is what the rule Hold your base.I think the History of the fart definition lost its origin.

    Boy how times change!

    keep the “eruption between the legs”

    Comment by Doe on May 3, 2011 @ 12:20 pm
  10. Fantastic. I was telling someone the other day that, years ago, I remember seeing in the dictionary “fart: a small explosion between the legs” and guess what? They didn’t believe me. Must show them this forum. Happy “farting” !!! hee hee

    Comment by R1Susan on August 17, 2011 @ 11:18 pm
  11. Awesome! I was just relating this exact same story to my son and decided to look it up and see if anyone else remembered this. Glad I wasn’t the only one that got a laugh out of that one as a kid!

    Comment by Alex on November 25, 2011 @ 6:46 pm
  12. That’s FARTastical! I just had this conversation with my daughter after my dog farted and she blamed it on me and I told her,”it’s a small explosion between the two butt cheeks”. She refused to believe me until she found this site! I was so STINKING happy to prove my daughter wrong! It’s a fartastic day for me!

    Comment by Don Kemby on November 25, 2012 @ 9:55 pm
  13. a loud fart is gas rumbling past a turd,a silent fart is gas traveling straight thru a turd. I know these things because im’ a scientist and a part time brain surgen.

    Comment by mark abbott on May 31, 2013 @ 1:33 pm
  14. @mark Thanks for your uh…addition.

    Comment by Dan on May 31, 2013 @ 3:28 pm
  15. same thing happened to me i was 9 yrs old and liked to look up funny words in the dictionary. i ran to my mom laughing so hard i was crying. i have always remembered that and told my kids. i just now decided after all these yrs to look it up again and low and behold its still there..littlest things make the best memories…

    Comment by dena deaton on January 2, 2014 @ 11:52 pm
  16. @Dena Sweet, sweet memories :)

    Comment by Dan on January 3, 2014 @ 12:22 am
  17. I knew it! I went to school in Canada and in grade 6 (1973) we were issued new dictionaries. Our fart description said “a mild explosion between the legs” and I’ve never forgotten how we laffed about it! I didn’t think anyone else would remember it…:D

    Comment by Diana on January 18, 2014 @ 1:17 pm
  18. As I recall, the full definition was: “a small explosion between the legs with a foggy smell afterwards.” I remember this only because I was 1 of 8 kids who had to restate the obvious everytime one of us passed gas. Good times!

    Comment by dan mortensen on April 21, 2016 @ 5:24 am
  19. I too remember that definition from my childhood. I have been trying for years to prove it to people checking every dictionary with no success. My family thinks I am psychotic. My father in law has seen it so that helps my case. I guess th burden of proof is on me.

    Comment by Jeff Norman on May 15, 2016 @ 10:59 am
  20. @Jeff If you ever find proof, please share it!

    Comment by Dan on May 18, 2016 @ 8:14 am

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