What is it?

The slang term "piss-take" applies to any communication in which something or someone is disrespected, treated with irreverence and made fun of. Parody, insult and caricature are all implementations of the piss-take. The most common verb forms are "to take the piss" and "to take the piss out". This is nearly synonymous with to take the Mickey, albeit rather more crude.

How do I do it?

It's dead easy! These simple steps will have you extracting the urine in no time.

  1. Choose a target - something which lends itself to ridicule. Any politician or beaurocratic process will do fine. Celebrities and sports referees can also make for good material. However, the best piss-takes are usually based on the antics of your friends and colleagues.
  2. Decide on a style. Take into account your own proficiencies, the audience and the social atmosphere. Your incisive Wildian foray into subtle irony and sarcasm in iambic pentameter will be wasted on a pub full of Rugby League players. In the same way, a loudly proclaimed "You suck!" will go down poorly at a Nobel Prize presentation. It is also important to set an appropriate level of virulence. Some piss-takes are meant to offend, others are just in good fun.
  3. Make your delivery. Good timing is crucial.
  4. Bask in the envy and admiration of your audience, who will proceed to {laugh heartily|buy you a drink|let you marry their daughter|give you a knighthood}
And remember, practice makes perfect.

What does piss have to do with it?

I'm sorry to say, I haven't the foggiest. My best efforts to research the etymology of the phrase have dead-ended. I suspect that nobody knows how this one originated, although it is a safe guess that it happened in Britain. There's a possibility that it's a ruder and more biological derivative of "to take the wind out of his sails", but I'm afraid that's no more than raw conjecture.

Taking the piss in Australia

The concept of the piss-take is core to the Australian sense of humour (as I'm sure it is in many other cultures, but I can't speak for them). Not only is a large portion of our comedy based on it, it is also a major feature of our male bonding behaviour patterns. Part of being "mates" with a "bloke" is taking the piss out of him, and having it taken out of you in your turn.

Don't give unless you're willing to receive

Beware; he who liberally takes the piss renders himself a more desirable piss-taking target for others. To an extent, what you dish out will determine what you get back. If your piss-taking is harmless and convivial, you can anticipate some friendly jibes in return. If you make a habit of serving up malicious insults, then you'd better have a stoic demeanour.

Good luck and happy hunting!

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