Food Competitions Have A Super Classy Name For Throwing Up

Food competitions are generally perceived as thrilling, but overwhelmingly bemusing, affairs. We've all been sitting in a restaurant fit to burst after an enormous main course, doggedly determined to force down an unnecessarily large dessert just for the sweet flavor punches. Competitive eaters, on the other hand, take things to a whole other level — like a level 100 boss.

Competitions are extremely varied. Aside from the famous hot dog eating races, events include the delights of speed eating burritos, Spam, and banana puddings. The rewards can be fairly impressive too, with financial prizes totaling thousands of dollars in some events.

However, there is a very obvious downside to shoveling vast quantities of food or drink into your stomach against the clock (even if you're merely fattening up to stave off a hangover). Sickness is likely to follow. There are plenty of revolting names for the horror and embarrassment of vomiting, but food competitions have developed far more refined ways of referring to it.

Vomiting is treated with respect in eating competitions

As comical as puking may be to some observers, for the victim it is a deeply unpleasant and usually mortifying incident. To approach vomiting with a greater degree of sophistication, food competitions opt for the terms "reversal" – which is pretty self-explanatory given that the food's coming out the way it went in — and "Roman incident."

A Roman incident is certainly a more obscure phrase and likely derives from folklore. The phrase may stem from vomitorium, which, now considered to be a myth, was assumed by some people to be a place where Romans would purposely vomit to create more stomach room to continue eating.

Crucially, contestants are only disqualified from eating contests if vomit makes contact with the plate or table. So, if they can swallow it back, they can continue which is a situation none of us want to find ourselves in.