A Slight Explosion Between The Legs

My grandad once told me that if you look up the word “fart” in the dictionary, the definition will be as above – i.e. “a slight explosion between the legs”. 

Being young, small and naive at the time, probably aged about 7, I believed him. It was all a good laugh, after all, and why would I want to ruin it.

It stuck in my head, but some time after that, as I started to get more inquisitive about what adults told me, I decided to look it up. Try as I might, all the dictionaries I ever found didn’t define the word. I guess it was just a bit too rude for them.

Then I came across one that was old and tatty, didn’t have a cover any more and the spine was starting to break. But inside came the proof that my grandad was lying all along. The new definition: “emission of gas from anus”. How boring. 

But something happened the other day that could very definitely have been described as a slight explosion between the legs. Yet, in this case, it wasn’t a fart – although after reading this tale you may be thinking that it would have been excusable in the circumstances.

There I was in the kitchen, minding my own business, making my dinner. I’d decided I wanted something different than what was going to be on offer from my mum. She was during the usual “quick tea” of burgers, waffles, beans, whatever she could lay her hands on that would feed the masses in this house as soon as possible with the minimum of fuss. Fair enough – she does work.

So I’m standing at the cooker, stirring my pasta, and my mum comes along and prepares the oven, lighting the gas, taking all the baking trays out, and gets all the stuff out the freezer ready to go. Not even remotely interesting. I might have even stepped out of her way to allow her access to the cooker. Still – very dull.

She left the kitchen while the oven pre-heated for a few minutes. I carried on with my pasta, which was now boiling away nicely. Now, I decided to move the pasta from one gas ring to another, for the simple reason that the one I was boiling the pasta on was very good for heating the water up but not so good for leaving to simmer. I turned off the one I was using and lit the gas on the new, smaller, gas ring.

I pressed the ignition, and from just below me, at the top of my legs, came an almighty bang.

Worse, the oven door flew open and closed again (spring mounted, you see), causing another slamming sound.

Needless to say I somewhat shat myself, making a rather alarmed cry at the bizarre circumstances going on below me.

Then my rational brain kicked in and realised that the panic was over, that nothing serious had occurred, and then began to work out what must have happened. 

Our oven is a little temperamental. If you want to light it, you have to hold the ignition down for ages. It seems, in this case, my mum didn’t. Instead, she turned it on, pressed the button, and nothing happened. But she thought it did, then leaving it to pre-heat. 

Meanwhile, the gas built up in the oven. So much gas that it must have filled the whole thing, but fortunately did not leak out. If it had I would have smelled it. Then, when I went to light my new hob, I pressed the ignition. Of course, the ignition creates a spark on all of the hobs and ovens simultaneously… so while I thought I was lighting my gas hob, in fact I was lighting the oven too…

And bang.

The consequence: a slight explosion between the legs. It may not be the definition of “fart”, but it is now even more permanently etched into my mind as something that really did happen – not just an invention of my grandad’s comical mind.

Who’d’a thought that all these years later I would actually find a use for his joke…

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  1. I googled “a tiny explosion between the legs” just now and found this. The reason I was googling? The dictionary in my elementary school had that exact definition for a fart. Your grandfather did not lie!

    • That’s hilarious. I can’t believe that’s true, but I’ll take your word for it. I’ll have to tell him about this. His reaction will be worth remembering. Thanks very much; isn’t the Internet amazing!

  2. Yes, it’s true. Your grandfather did not lie.

    When i was in fifth grade (in 1977) attending Eastern Elementary school in Fenton, Michigan, someone in our class looked up the word “fart” in our dictionary and it had the same definition. We all thought it was hilarious… we all had to see for ourselves. I actually don’t remember the word “slight” in the definition, though. This is how I remember the definition: “Fart – an explosion between the legs.” Perhaps I simply forgot about the adjective “slight”. I have remembered the definition to this day because it just seemed so odd…and funny.

    • OMG! I was a 4th grader (1972) attending Torrey Hill Elementary in (Lake) Fenton, Michigan! I have shared with my kids what I had learned hiding in the back of the library looking up the definition of a fart! So I looked it up on line! I just found this site! I do not remember the adjective “slight” either! My kids and I had a good laugh when I read your post and you are from Fenton, MI! What a trip! LOL!

  3. yes, i can confirm this. i was born n 1976, and went to school in brisbane, australia, and cannot remember the dictoionary it was in, but was in my primary school years, so approx1983-84 or round about there, this was definitely the definition which was why i googled “an explosion between the legs”. I too do not remember “slight” being in there, so I can confirm Polly’s recollection as matches with mine.

    Funny how this is about all I remember from primary school (hence googleing this term)!

  4. I have been telling my children about ‘the small explosion between the legs’ for years now. I am in my forties and i know that i read the above for a fart when i was younger, i cant think of where i could,or would have made it up! It must be true!!

  5. Actually, your grandfather wasn’t lying. When I was in the 4th grade we did look up the word in the old red cloth bound dictionary that the school would furnish to the classes. Only reason I came here today is because I’ve been sitting here at work torturing my workmates with a barrage of “small explosions” all day.

    Again, I can not remember the dictionary, but want to say it was a marriam Webster.

  6. Your grandad was telling the truth. I saw it, too.

  7. I still love this post, and all of the wonderful comments afterwards. Perhaps there are more people out there who recollect joyous tales of (slight?) explosions between the legs?

  8. I googled this because I recall this definition in a dictionary too. I’m not sure what that says about me, us, or this site, but there you go. FWIW, I think I read this in 4th grade, which was in Madison Wisconsin around 1984. I even recall the cover of the dictionary being white with lots of letters on the front cover. None of us believed it, we all looked it up. And how I remember this, but not calculus, I’ll never know.

  9. Roger williamson

     /  Wednesday, 26 October 2011 @ 19:14

    My pal Derek gannon used to say this was a dictionary definition. We were 9 at the time back in the fifties. Was he your grandad?

  10. yep, i remember ‘the small explosion between the legs’ definition from 6th grade in 1984…i was asking my 4 year daughter about her fart and i remembered this and decided to google it and found your blog. like shaun i believe it was a small red tatty dictionary.

  11. In school in Australia in the early 1970s we took it upon ourselves to go an find every conceiveable swear word in the dictionary… as you do. Of course none were in the dictionary in the 70’s, but “fart – small explosion between the legs” ceratinly was. We had uncontrollable bouts of hysterics for days and weeks in class whenever a odour permeated the class room.

  12. Brian of Nazareth

     /  Tuesday, 10 July 2012 @ 6:43

    I am convinced that no dictionary would ever define a word with such flagrant vagueness and inaccuracy. Y’all either have false memories or are hellbent on perpetuating this urban legend.

  13. zainybrain15@yahoo.com

     /  Friday, 27 July 2012 @ 21:00

    Your Grand dad was actually telling you the truth. I am 45 and in the 5th grade i looked up Fart in one of the assigned school dictionaries and the exact definition was : a slight explosion between the legs.

  14. This is absolutely true. I remember “a minor explosion between the legs” to this day. We would sneak to the back of the room, look it up, and laugh. Such simple times 🙂

  15. Your grandfather didn’t lie. 1980, Laurelville Elementary in Ohio in 6th grade; each of us boys took turns looking that very definition up while we were in the library.

  16. The definition in our schools dictionary in Canada (USA’s Webster) was “a small explosion between the legs”. Your grandfather was telling the truth. Also, I am only 50 so you being in your forties were not far off of the same dictionary.

  17. This is my second post because I just read Brian of Nazerath’s reply stating that this is an urban legend. Do a little research yourself Brian as this is certainly not a myth. I still cannot beleive that the dicntioary would describe it vague and incorrectly but they did. I think it is more important now for you to stop suggesting it is untrue. Make a phone call or two and stop relying on your closed mind.

  18. Orange County, California, 4th grade, 1968… our classroom dictionary defined “fart” as “a slight explosion between the legs resulting from expulsion of a flatus from the anus.” Saw it myself.

  19. your grandad was telling the truth,i remember the definition in an old dictionary lol!

  20. Amazing. My mom says she remembers this definition from the 50s. I, like everyone else here, seemed to arrive by googling the phrase “A slight explosion between the legs” in order to try to prove her wrong. I said “Surely, at best it was expulsion!”

    She is proud to be right for a change. The internet is an amazing thing!

  21. Andrew Karstens

     /  Thursday, 24 November 2016 @ 0:59

    I too remember the definition as “A small explosion between the legs ” and a small drawing in the margin of a set of legs with a woosh of gas emitting from between them.

  22. As a child in grade school my friends and I looked up the definition of fart. It said ” a small explosion between the legs”. I kid you not!!! For years nobody in my family believed me. But now with many minds on the internet others remember seeing it in a dictionary as well. Your grandfather was right😁


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