I am wondering what would be the proper word or an idiom corresponding to the following:

You are trying to squeeze out some hand soap or hand sanitizer from a push down bottle, like this:

push-down bottle

But because the nozzle is dried out, the liquid instead of coming down on your hand, shoots straight, for example hitting your face or clothes.

It happened recently at a meeting I attended, and I could not find proper words to explain it to another person. Squirt comes to mind, but I wonder if there is a better word or expression for it emphasizing that the dispenser did not work as intended.

  • Murphy's Law. The Second Law of Thermodynamics. S**t happens. Jan 18, 2015 at 1:32
  • Heh - true. I am looking more what words would you use to explain to someone what happened. For example if everybody is laughing, and you need to explain what happened to someone who did not see it. Jan 18, 2015 at 1:38
  • 3
    I would go with squirt.
    – user3169
    Jan 18, 2015 at 2:14
  • 1
    How about "I've just had a liquid soap bottle malfunction." Jan 18, 2015 at 4:15
  • 1
    I know of no idiomatic express for this, but there should be one. It's a common enough event. It's happened to me with ketchup – it can lead to some awkward moments!
    – J.R.
    Jan 18, 2015 at 18:28

3 Answers 3


In that kind of bottle, it SHOULD "squirt", but in the right direction. You might, for instance, explain to someone "squirt some on your hand".

Try "spurted out". This has a bit more forceful of connotation than "squirted". Feel how the word feels on your lips—the "P" sound more closely mimics a sudden outrush from a stopped-up passageway.

  • I like that one, I found somewhere example with "lava spurting out of the volcano" which does seem to go well with forcing through blocked passageway Jan 19, 2015 at 18:37

I am not native but the words that work in here could be

The soap could spray over yourself

or to spill on and to shoot out

  • Yeah, I did not think of spray - I think it conveys meaning pretty good, even though it is a more of a jet you're hit with Jan 18, 2015 at 1:54

I would stick with squirt. It is the best word I can think of.

You must log in to answer this question.

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