My wife recently came across what is apparently a new or newish slang term, sploot, defined here as “the pose an animal, especially dogs, cats, and other four-legged pets, makes when it lies on its stomach with its hind legs stretched out back and flat.” This news story by Melissa Reeves shows squirrels splooting and explains that they do it to cool down in hot weather; we have seen the squirrels in our yard doing it lately, and now we know what to call it, and so do you. An excellent word.

In the spirit of completeness, I must add that I have found another completely different use of sploot, but I don’t think it will catch on; it’s from p. 373 of “Reconfiguration of Satisfying Assignments and Subset Sums: Easy to Find, Hard to Connect” by Jean Cardinal, Erik D. Demaine, David Eppstein, Robert A. Hearn, and Andrew Winslow, in Computing and Combinatorics: 24th International Conference, COCOON 2018, Qing Dao, China, July 2-4, 2018, Proceedings (Springer International, 2018):

For each exact cover configuration C in the output instance, at least one maximally split configuration is reachable from C via a sequence of splits. Call the set of all such configurations the sploot set of C, denoted sploot(C).

Also, don’t miss xkcd’s Complex Vowels, which as a former math major I especially enjoyed. (Thanks, Sven!)


  1. David Eddyshaw says

    We need up, down, top, bottom, charm and strange vowels. That should cover it.

  2. Sploot feels like it should have a rude meaning, and I wasn’t surprised to find earlier definitions more in that realm. But I like the animal-related sense – a flat, stationary companion to stot.

  3. Yes, it seems to fit that meaning remarkably well.

  4. We need up, down, top, bottom, charm and strange vowels.

    To be represented in Element Theory as A, ∀, U, ∩, I, —.

  5. I’m afraid I’ve resorted in my researches to the Urban Dictionary, which records the splay-leg posture as early as 2011. That instance (and another from 2017) refer specifically to corgis.

    Plus lots of unseemly meanings.


    Sploot is the descriptive word explaining what happens when you press down with your finger on a marble, or squeeze soap between two hands forcing it to shoot out.

    Splooting was coined in the 50’s in Bristol by international set and stage designer Rodney Ford.

    This, like any assertion in UD, is to be trusted only so far.

  6. records the splay-leg posture as early as 2011.

    Good thing I added “newish” to be safe!

  7. David Marjanović says

    To be represented in Element Theory as A, ∀, U, ∩, I, —.

    Or indeed as ㅗ ㅜ ㅛ ㅠ ㆍ ㅡ.

  8. Lars Mathiesen says

    Trust: About as far as you can shoot a piece of wet soap by squeezing on it, I guess.

  9. cuchuflete says

    Is the past participle of sploot regular or extended?

  10. Lars Mathiesen says

    I vote for sploot, splote, sploten.

  11. Also discussed at Language Log now.

  12. Rowena Sinclair says

    Been using sploot since 1960s when food (eg thick soup) splashes on to table ( kids sploot a lot) . The noun noun sploot refers to the messy item that has landed on the table. Splotch is similar but texturally different.

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