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See a man about a dog / Powder my nose

These expressions have very similar meanings and they are both used in informal contexts. Letís start with the first one.

To see a man about a dog is to go to the bathroom. It is an indirect (and hence more polite) way of saying that you wish to use the toilet.

  • Make a strong tea for me. In the meanwhile, I have to see a man about a dog.
  • Excuse me. I am going to see a man about a dog. I will be back in a minute.

This expression is also used in those situations when you want to keep your destination or the purpose of your visit a secret.

  • I donít know where Rahul has gone. He just said that he had to see a man about a dog. (Rahul doesnít reveal his destination. He just says that he has to go.)
  • Rohan is very secretive. He never says anything about his frequent trips. If you ask, he will just say that he has to see a man about a dog.

Women often use the phrase powder my nose to express their desire to use the bathroom. This phrase is not normally used by men.

  • Excuse me. I wish to powder my nose.

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