What Is Scatological Humor?

In a review of Tom Anglebeger’s book The Qwikpick Papers: Poop Fountain, Goodreads member Barb Middleton said,

Give kids books on poop, gas, or burps and they laugh hysterically. Most adults scratch their heads at this scatological humor.

She goes on to explain that kids love scatological humor, and that if it gets them excited about books, we adults shouldn’t turn up our noses.

I agree with her, although I must admit that I’m thankful my kids didn’t need Captain Underpants to encourage reading. More importantly, I wanted to learn more about “scatological”.

If you’re interested in unusual words too, join the Wondrous Words Wednesday meme with Kathy of Bermuda Onion. Comment on words you find there, and add your own post to the mix. It’s fun, and a great way to expand your vocabulary.

Scatology \sca·tol·o·gy\ noun from the Greek skat-, skōr excrement; akin to Old English scearn dung, Latin muscerdae mouse droppings

  • Interest in obscene matters especially in literature
  • The biological study of excrement (especially for taxonomic purposes or the determination of diet)

I should have guessed this origin! I have heard animal excrement referred to as “scat”.

Word Nerd Workout

wondrous memeFirst, how do you feel the use of scatological humor in children’s books? Does humor based on bodily functions have a place in literature? Also, can you think of other examples of books that use scatological humor? The Artemis Fowl series has some scatological references that my boys enjoy, including a dwarf who tunnels by eating dirt and then experiences severe digestive repercussions.

Don’t forget to visit Kathy at Bermuda Onion.

Thanks for getting nerdy with me today!




Julia Tomiak
I believe in the power of words to improve our lives, and I help people find interesting words to read. Find me on Facebook, Twitter, Goodreads, Pinterest, and Google+. Member of SCBWI and Wordsmithstudio.org.


  1. I knew scatological humor means bathroom humor — or at least humor related to biological functions and excretions. I don’t have any problem with it. Kids think it’s funny as heck.

    If you are going to be a children’s writer, you have to think like a kid!

  2. I know what scat is, but I never related it to the word “scatological” – which I have heard but never really knew what it meant. Makes sense now!

    When my son was younger, he liked books with scatological humor, and if it made him more apt to read, then I was all for it.

  3. I know what “scat” is, so I am able to decipher scatological but I’ve never actually seen the word.
    I grew up with just a sister, and it was a long time ago, so scatological humor wasn’t big in our lives. When I was in college taking Children’s Literature I learned about the books Everyone Poops and Everyone Farts, which were supposed to help with potty training.
    Twenty years ago I became an auntie to twin boys and learned about the true hilarity of scatological humor and bodily functions as a big topic of conversation which it continues to be to this day, even as they study engineering and work for the government. I think it’s a boy things like the excitement of cherry-picker trucks.

  4. Hi Julia,

    I am amazed at just how many new words I have come across lately, which describe styles or genres of writing and scatology has to be one of the best so far!

    I have to admit, that not having any children of my own, my knowledge of scatological humour for children is almost non existent, however I did mange to come up with one book which seems to fit the bill quite nicely …

    ‘Why Do Dogs Sniff Bottoms?’ by Dawn McMillan


    I am not too sure of the wisdom of aiming this sort of book at children as young as 5, however, as I also don’t know exactly why dogs do sniff bottoms, perhaps my early years education was lacking some vital information 🙂

    Scatological humour would have been very much frowned upon in the 1906s, but I guess times have moved on, although perhaps our youngsters know a little too much, at too young an age?

    What an interesting post, thanks for sharing.


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