He stepped into the restroom and went to a sink, then suddenly he noticed that he was standing in a puddle of urine. In fact, there was piss all over the floor.

Will native English speakers find "piss" offensive or is it pretty normal to use in speech and writing?

  • 2
    It depends entirely on the tone of the story you are writing. We wouldn't say piss in polite company, but if your story is a realistic one about down-to-earth people, it would look odd to avoid it. Feb 20, 2021 at 17:22
  • It's entirely a matter of opinion whether any given person would find any particular vocabulary choice here "offensive" (and to what degree they might be offended. But as a general rule of thumb, if you use wee then the chances of offending anyone will be very much reduced. And many if not most native Anglophones would very specifically recognise that particular vocabulary choice as being intended to avoid causing offence, since most of us rarely use that word IF we're with people we know for sure won't be offended if we say pee ore piss. Feb 20, 2021 at 17:35
  • (That's to say, wee is the twee word for pee / piss :) Feb 20, 2021 at 17:37
  • 2
    I've always assumed pee (P) to be a euphemism. Feb 20, 2021 at 19:42

2 Answers 2


"Piss" is slang for "urine". I would reserve the use of "piss" for contexts in which slang is appropriate.

"Pee" is also slang for "urine", but it is not as harsh of a word as "piss". Part of the harshness of "piss" may have to do with its use in the English expression "piss off", which is not a nice thing to say to someone.

  • 1
    On the last point, I think the causality runs in the opposite direction: the reason that "piss off" is more offensive than "clear off" or "shove off" is that "piss" is a crude term.
    – rjpond
    Feb 21, 2021 at 6:06
  • @rjpond Thanks. That's a real possibility as well. I'm not sure which is the chicken and which is the egg. ;) Feb 21, 2021 at 9:54
  • I tend to agree with @rjpond, it's quite like the "f" word combined with "off". Jul 1, 2023 at 16:29

It would depend on the context.

Others have noted that “piss” is a slang term, but I would go a step further. “Piss” is, at least where I grew up in England, classed as a “swear word”/profanity (however, I do get the impression it’s not seen that way quite so much in America).

Is it offensive? Some may take offence; I think it would be most accurate to say that your sentence would sound quite vulgar to some. But if this is the effect you’re going for, it’s obviously fine. And as mentioned by @KateBunting, if it’s, for example, a story about down to earth, ordinary people (and perhaps especially if it were narrated in the first person by a character of that ilk), then, yes, this is quite often how they speak, so I’d say it’s unlikely that anyone would take offence if it were presented in such a context.

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