Monk (2002–2009) is a TV show wherein Adrian Monk, the main character, is a psychologically discharged former police officer. The now detective is childlike with adult themes like childbirth, nudity, and sex. One of his coping mechanisms is toning down rude words.

Monk frequently uses the abbreviation "B.M.", predominantly in the context of excretion.

B.M. B.M. It's B.M.

— Monk: Mr. Monk and the Kid (2005)

It's like the dining room carpet when the cat makes a--a B.M. on there.

— Monk: Mr. Monk and the Garbage Strike (2006)

It tastes like B.M.

— Monk: Mr. Monk Is Someone Else (2009)

However, I wonder if "B.M." means something more than "number 2", or, more explicitly, "defecation". According to TV Tropes, "B.M." means "shit", but that hardly justifies the abbreviation. Why does he say "B.M." and not "S"?

Which two words does "B.M." represent? My best guess is "big mess".

  • "BM" is already a polite way to say "sh*t," so it's a more natural fall back for Monk than just saying "S" which other folks wouldn't immediately understand. Dec 17, 2020 at 20:25
  • I was thinking it was a polite way of saying "BS", knowing that it stands for "Bullshit", but replacing "shit" with "mess". However, in the context, he appears to be talking about literal fecal matter, so the figurative use of "BS" does not apply in this case. Dec 18, 2020 at 16:21
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    @DarrelHoffman - As blue giraffe has stated, BM stands for bowel movement. It was a common phrase prior to the 1990s. Anyone older than 40 (Possibly 30) would have known it. Monk is definitely in the right age range to use it. .
    – Dean F.
    Dec 18, 2020 at 23:10
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    My kid’s daycare uses “BM”, so I’m not sure it’s a completely outdated term. Dec 20, 2020 at 17:05
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    @DeanF. Well, I'm over 40, and I've of course heard of "bowel movement", but never once heard the acronym "BM" used to refer to it, so that's a bit of an overstatement. Maybe it's a regional thing? Or maybe something only people with kids would know about? Dec 21, 2020 at 13:07

2 Answers 2


BM is short for Bowel Movement:

A bowel movement is the last stop in the movement of food through your digestive tract. Your stool passes out of your body through the rectum and anus. Another name for stool is feces.

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    Anytime you quote anything you need to cite the source! Otherwise it's plagiarism, which can lead to posts being deleted. Dec 19, 2020 at 10:32
  • "Bowel movement" is the proper clinical name for the thing. And monk didn't want to say "bowel" because he didn't want to have to wash his hands again. Dec 20, 2020 at 20:01

Indeed. In grammar school here in the US, we were encouraged by the school nurse not call it "poop" or "caca", but the more discreet "BM" or "Bowel Movement". (This would be about 36 years ago! I'm not sure what grammar-school nurses would say today.)

  • America has grammar schools? I thought that the US called them "private high schools". Did you mean "UK" rather than US?
    – nick012000
    Dec 19, 2020 at 11:48
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    He means “elementary” or “primary” school, which it’s not unheard of to call grammar school here in the US.
    – mxyzplk
    Dec 19, 2020 at 13:20
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    My Depression-era grandparents used "BM" and "bowel movement".
    – RonJohn
    Dec 19, 2020 at 14:56

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