douchebag

or douche bag

[ doosh-bag ]
/ ˈduʃˌbæg /

noun

a small syringe having detachable nozzles for fluid injections, used chiefly for vaginal lavage and for enemas.
Also called douche. Slang: Vulgar. a contemptible or despicable person.

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Origin of douchebag

First recorded in 1930–35
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2020

ABOUT THIS WORD

What else does douchebag mean?

A douchebag is a slang insult for an obnoxious, entitled jerk.

Where does douchebag come from?

The slang douchebag comes from the literal douchebag, a type of syringe for douching, or washing the vagina for hygienic and contraceptive purposes. They are referenced in medical texts and midwifery books in the late 1800s. Douche itself comes from French and Italian words for “shower.”

Due to its use by women for a taboo part of the body, douchebag was a disparaging term for women by the 1930s. Use of the term by author Henry Miller caused some controversy in the 1960s.

In the 1980s, Saturday Night Live parodied the aristocratic “Lord and Lady Douchebag”:

Since then, the term has spread all over popular culture, especially in the 1990s and 2000s.

It was a favorite of Jon Stewart on The Daily Show in the 2000s, perhaps because it passed the TV censors. Family Guy also loved the term, also likely because the strong language was permitted on air.

In 2014, American studies professor Michael Mark Cohen wrote a popular article on how douchebag was “the white racial slur we’ve all been waiting for,” slamming a typed of privileged, white, heterosexual male. Douchebag joins many other sexist slang terms that use words related to the female body to insult men.

How is douchebag used in real life?

Douchebag is generally considered less vulgar than the likes of asshole but stronger than such insults as jerk. Still, it is considered inappropriate for polite company.

While it can target entitled white men, douchebag can insult anyone who is annoying, usually because of cocky or self-important behavior.

Douchebag has inspired some creative variants or derived forms. Douchebaggery is the state of being a douchebag; douche-nozzle is an especially egregious douchebag. The shorter forms douche and douchey are very common too.

More examples of douchebag:

“I am that type of douchebag friend who doesn’t talk with you for weeks/months but still cares about you and hopes you still care too.”
—@erionrose, May 2013

“Yes, discovering travel was a wonderful thing, and it took you to a lot of kinky and obscure countries throughout your 20s. Only now the curtain is falling on your 20s and you’re noticing all the other travellers are still 19. Suddenly you’re at some backpacker’s hostel in Laos, listening to an asshole strumming ‘Wonderwall’ on their travel ukulele and an unpleasant thought blunders into your head: ‘Am I too old for this? Have I become a creepy douchebag?’”
—Julian Morgans, Vice, January 2017

Note

This content is not meant to be a formal definition of this term. Rather, it is an informal summary that seeks to provide supplemental information and context important to know or keep in mind about the term’s history, meaning, and usage.

Example sentences from the Web for douchebag