I am pretty sure there's a word for it, but I forgot what the word was completely. By "urge to go to the toilet", I mean the desire to go peeing or pooping obviously.


There is the phrase "caught short". In the Oxford Dictionaries is

be caught short

1.1 British informal Urgently need to urinate or defecate.
those caught short in the store will have to pay £1 to use the toilets

  • This is a colloquialism. In the US, no one would know what you mean. Also, I would be careful assuming it's a common expression in the UK, as I've never heard it used in any British television programs. – Andrew Apr 29 '19 at 2:10
  • @Andrew I don't assume it's a common expression in the UK, I know it, which is why I wrote this answer. Pretty much everyone here would understand what is meant. The dictionary reference says "British informal" so you should challenge them with your TV survey. – Weather Vane Apr 29 '19 at 19:53
  • I think yours is a good answer, but problematic as the accepted answer. There are perhaps several hundred colloquial ways to say "need to urinate/defecate", many of which would not be understood outside the local dialect, and so of limited use to an English learner. It's better to teach the one that can be used anywhere, and then add in some regional variations. – Andrew Apr 29 '19 at 21:44
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    Moreover "caught short" is in general use to mean "failing to reach some intended goal", which might cause confusion if an English learner reads something like: "The Australian was caught short of the crease by Ambati Rayudu's direct throw" as it's odd for a sports announcer to suggest one of the players needs to pee. – Andrew Apr 29 '19 at 21:45
  • @Andrew I didn't accept my own answer! On the other hand the American euphemism "need to go to the bathroom" may be widely misunderstood too, a bathroom being where one takes a bath, not a pee. Heck, many of us didn't even have a bathroom until the 1960/70s. – Weather Vane Apr 29 '19 at 22:02

There is no single word for this. The actual expression varies between English dialects, but in the US it's common to say something like:

I need to go the bathroom.

If (for whatever reason) you want to be more descriptive, you can say something like

I have a full bladder.

Naturally, there are dozens or perhaps hundreds of slang expressions for this, most of them fairly crude.

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