A quick sponge-bath

… especially of the armpits and crotch / privates / genitals: a whore’s bath. I first noticed the usage in an episode of the tv series Supernatural (S9 E13 “The Purge”, first aired 2/6/14):


The character Dean Winchester (played by Jensen Ackles), called to quick action on a case. Dean goes on, “I’ll be ready in five.”

Also on tv, from the American sitcom Happy Endings (which ran on ABC from April 13, 2011 to May 3, 2013), the character Penny (played by Casey Wilson):


Urban Diction has whore’s bath and whore bath, also pirate’s bath and pirate bath. And from Green’s Dictionary of Slang:

whore splash (also whore’s bath) a brief, cursory wash, often a quick shower, as taken by a prostitute between clients; also in non-prostitution use.

1950 [underworld dictionary] A light sponge-bath, usually with cold water, taken in one’s cell.

1953 Battle Cry [military usage] We all took whore’s baths in half-helmets of water,

1982 N. Keesing, Lily on the Dustbin: Women seem to have invented, and been the exclusive users of, several terms for an quick or ‘important’ wash: ‘A Mary Pickford in three acts’ (face/neck, privates, feet); a ‘whore’s bath’ and ‘to take an APC’ (armpits and crotch) were others.

1990 S. Morgan, Homeboy: Dude’s got more than whore splash comin.

Sources on Australian military slang also give APC (initialism for armpits and crotch) for a bath taken in the bush with limited water. A usage I heard from an Australian-born friend (who served in the military there) only a few weeks ago, in a discussion with me of water-saving strategies during the California drought.

3 Responses to “A quick sponge-bath”

  1. Lauren Gawne Says:

    I can also add ‘pits and bits’, which I learnt from a fellow Australian English speaker, about 8 years ago.

  2. Tané Tachyon Says:

    I’ve heard that as “hooker’s bath”, so basically the same thing …

  3. bstewart27 Says:

    Also, a “PTA bath”– pits, tits and ass.

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