Where does the word question come from?

Just one question: where does the term “bowel movement” come from?

Most people have bowel movements every day without knowing where the term actually comes from. Katja Vogel, research assistant at the Schloss Friedenstein Gotha Foundation, knows the answer to this question.



In our everyday usage, the term occurs primarily in medicine. When the word originated and how this strange word formation came about, many medieval documents tell us. It is reported that, as early as the 15th century, a special chair was used in noble town houses to “lighten the body” instead of the peculiar toilet. This was built in the form of a vertical box and provided with a hinged lid. Under the lid was a seat with a round opening and the bowl underneath.

Chairs with armrests and backrests were later made for greater comfort. However, not much value was placed on a particularly beautiful design, as the furniture was mostly hidden.

A poop chair with a mixture of herbs




It often disappeared behind curtains, for example with the French King Louis XI, who, according to tradition, also used aromatic herbs to improve the room air. To ensure a little intimacy, small chambers were later built into the bedroom alcoves.

Based on its special use, the piece of furniture was first called the “chamber, body, poop, Scheisz or emergency chair”. It was not until the 1650s that it became established as a "night chair". The performance of human needs was now understood as “going to the chair” or “going to the chair”.


Goethe already had a bowel movement




In the medical writings of the 16th century the term was used particularly frequently. In such reports, the patient's condition was noted as “unable to stool”. In order to remedy the situation, a recipe from 1516 to "put the stulgang" provided. A mixture of wormwood, vinegar and wine was recommended. And to this day we do not know whether Johann Wolfgang von Goethe meant that in a figurative sense when he wrote: "I could not rest all night, it drove me to stool many times."