Back-formation from flatulence, attested since the 19th century; ultimately of Latin origin.


  • IPA(key): /ˈflætjʊleɪt/, /ˈflætʃəleɪt/
  • (file)


flatulate (third-person singular simple present flatulates, present participle flatulating, simple past and past participle flatulated)

  1. To emit digestive gases from the anus, especially with accompanying sound and smell.
    • 1985, James L. Framo, “Rationale and Techniques of Intensive Family Therapy,” in Intensive Family Therapy, Ivan Boszormenyi-Nagy and James L. Framo eds. [1],
      Where else but in his own castle, with his own family, can a person pick his nose, flatulate, lose his temper with impunity, whine, let the child in him emerge—in short, regress and “be himself”?
    • 2001, David Kerans, Mind and Labor on the Farm in Black-Earth Russia[2]:
      Horses defecate and flatulate on the move.
    • 2003, Vamik D Volkan, The Third Reich in the Unconscious[3]:
      While in the bathtub, he thought that he had to flatulate, but defecated instead. His mother had berated him mercilessly.

Usage notesEdit

Garner's Modern English Usage (4th ed) has an entry for flatulate, discussing the attestation history and lexicographic coverage of this verb and some of its synonyms. As with the other main bodily functions (such as urination, defecation, and vomiting), register governs the choice of synonym in a given context; flatulate serves formal registers such as in medical publications well, whereas fart, although it is easily English's dominant synonym of the semantic field for this concept, is usually considered a casualism suited only to informal registers. Thus flatulate is to fart as urinate is to pee and as defecate is to poop. pass gas is a common term that is more formal than fart but less formal than flatulate; it would likely be the most appropriate term if it was necessary to discuss flatulence with anyone except a close friend or immediate family member. Thus flatulate is to pass gas as defecate is to have a bowel movement. (For example, one may say to a doctor "I haven't passed gas for three days" or "I haven't had a bowel movement for three days.")


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