1

In some cultures, if you have a belly button that looks like a hole, your belly button is thought to be beautiful, but if it protrudes, it is not beautiful.

Is it correct to say "Her belly button sticks in/out" in everyday English?

3
  • 3
    The unjudgemental words inny and outy are often used instead. (Did we really need the pictures? ) Commented Feb 12, 2021 at 1:43
  • @OldBrixtonian, “inny” and “outy” are not found in formal dictionary. Are they locale-specific? Can we say something that every dialect or every English person can understand?
    – Tom
    Commented Feb 12, 2021 at 8:44
  • It didn't sound as if you were looking for formal English! Formally it is called a navel not a belly button. Inny and outy are informal. I discover they can also be spelt with - ie. Lexico: innie - outie Commented Feb 12, 2021 at 14:18

2 Answers 2

2

You could use various levels of formality:

To a small child, or an adult to whom you don't mind talking childishly

You have an outie, and your sister has an inny

Generally

My son has a protruding navel (or a navel that pokes out) and my daughter has a sunken one (or one that is sunk in or depressed)

In formal or medical writing

The male child's navel is everted, and the female sibling's is inverted

6
  • are 'inverted' (sunken) and 'everted' (poking out) everyday English because I could not find “inny” and “outy” in formal dictionary?
    – Tom
    Commented Feb 12, 2021 at 9:10
  • 1
    Inny and outy are informal childish slang. You are unlikely to find them in dictionaries. Commented Feb 12, 2021 at 9:11
  • 1
    Those words are understandable by most people. Commented Feb 12, 2021 at 9:12
  • 2
    maybe, "sunken" and "poke out" are best. 'inverted' and 'everted' are a bit formal I think
    – Tom
    Commented Feb 12, 2021 at 9:14
  • @Michael Harvey Inny and outy are informal. So is belly button. There are Lexico references above. Commented Feb 12, 2021 at 14:16
2

“His/her belly button sticks out” is correct, but we do not typically say “sticks in”. “Goes in” might work, but it is more common to say that “He/she has an innie belly button.”

4
  • 1
    +1, maybe worth mentioning that “innie” and “outie” (or however we’d actually spell them!), are both common (opposing) terms to describe this (at least in the UK).
    – Chris Mack
    Commented Feb 12, 2021 at 8:37
  • “innie” and “outie” are not found in formal dictionary. Are they locale-specific? Can we say something that every dialect or every English person can understand?
    – Tom
    Commented Feb 12, 2021 at 8:43
  • 3
    I can say with confidence that every American English speaker (native speakers) would know the terms, as they are taught and used extensively when we are very small children curious about our bodies. The words are less used as you grow older, as it's typically not seen as polite to comment on-- at all. I mean, not even that it's rude (although it is), just that it's childish, so even amongst very rude people it doesn't get discussed a lot. Commented Feb 12, 2021 at 9:28
  • 1
    I can't say for certain for other English dialects, such as British or Indian English, but I suspect the situation is similar, and that the words would be universally understood... but also that they are considered childish, and the topic at large to be rude. Commented Feb 12, 2021 at 9:28

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .