Home » Segments » Johnny on the Spot

Johnny on the Spot

Play episode

Does johnny-on-the-spot refer to a person or a porta-potty? Or both? The term johnny-on-the-spot, meaning a fellow who helpfully shows up at just the right instant, dates to the 1870s. But in the early 1900s, the john became a common euphemism for the outhouse. Today, there are several companies called Johnny On The Spot that rent and install temporary outhouses and display that name on their doors. The Dictionary of American Regional English has entries for Mrs. Jones, Miss Janet, Mrs. Murphy, and Neighbor Jones, all of which are euphemisms for outhouse or toilet. We’ve discussed others before, like going to see a man about a horse. It’s part of a tradition of not explicitly referring to the place where we urinate and defecate. But please, go ahead and share with us your favorite bathroom euphemisms! This is part of a complete episode.

Leave a comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

1 comment
  • In the Philippines, it’s “CR” (or “Comfort Room.”)

    Some tribal languages make a verb out of the word “forest” to mean “do your business in the woods.”

More from this show

Good Leather, Well Put Together

Laura in San Antonio, Texas, says her handsome father describes himself as a fine piece of leather, well put together. This phrase is probably a reference to a fine leather shoe and the artistry it takes to put it together. For years, shoe companies...

Segments