act of bullying

A swirly or swirlie is a form of bullying in which the victim's head is put into a toilet. Some people have questioned whether swirlies are real or whether they were invented for television and other fiction.

In fiction


On television, one or more bigger people, usually high school boys, pick up the victim. Then they dunk the victim's head in a toilet and flush it. The swirling water gives the swirly its name. For example, on the television show Archer, Archer tells Lana about how he got pneumonia from getting a swirly in high school: Two bigger boys had picked him up, turned him upside down, and put his head in a toilet. On The Simpsons, Bart Simpson gets a swirly from Jimbo Jones. In Cobra Kai, Kenny gets revenge against Anthony LaRusso by dunking his head into a used toilet.

In real life


There are a few reports of swirlies in real life. In some, the "victim" agreed to be part of the swirly.[1] In other reports, the victim describes the swirly almost exactly like a swirly in fiction. One Blair Academy wrestler talked about being given swirlies and other abuse from older teammates.[2] In others, the person giving the swirly is an adult or even a parent and not an older child.[3]


  1. Christina Palladino. "Greendale high school football team reportedly gave 'swirlies' to teammates". WISN. Retrieved September 9, 2021.
  2. Lori Comstock (April 14, 2021). "'Get over it': Blair Academy wrestler says coaches turned a blind eye to years of hazing, abuse". New Jersey Herald. Retrieved September 9, 2021.
  3. "No charges against Leesburg mom for giving toilet swirly". Daily Commercial. September 5, 2018. Retrieved September 9, 2021.