Morning Constitutional

By Deane Barker

There are two common definitions for this:

  1. A morning walk
  2. The first visit to the bathroom in the morning

There seems to be a geographic distance between those two terms. British English assumes the first; American English assumes the second.

Technically, “constitutional” means “something done to improve one’s constitution.” However, in America, it’s often used as a euphemism for a bathroom visit, and often a bowel movement specifically.

Why I Looked It Up

In Team of Rivals, I found this:

Rising early allowed him time to complete his morning constitutional through his beloved garden before the breakfast bell was rung.

Clearly, this using the first definition.

I also remember an episode of Fraiser when Daphne – who was the in-home nurse to Martin – said something like, “We completed our morning constitutional.” It’s unclear to what she was referring here, as either definition might make sense.

Perhaps “morning routine” is a more general definition for it.


Added on

From a NY Times article.

Bolger is a broad man, with lank, whitish, chin-length hair and a dignified profile, like a figure from an antique coin. One of his favorite places is Walden Pond – he met his wife there, on one of his early-morning constitutionals…

You have to assume this man wasn’t defecating in the woods regularly, so it must mean a walk in this instance.

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