Bidet is a French word for pony (and in Old French, bider meant to trot). This etymology comes from the notion that one rides a bidet much like a pony is ridden. The bidet appears to have been an invention of French furniture makers in the late 17th century, although no exact date or inventor is known. Bidets are primarily used to wash and clean the genitalia, perineum, inner buttocks, and anus. Bidets once served as a practical way for couples to prepare themselves before sex, as well as to rinse themselves afterwards.
A bidet may also be a nozzle attached to an existing toilet, or a part of the toilet itself. In this case, its use is restricted to cleaning the anus and genitals. Some bidets of this type have two nozzles, the shorter one, called the family nozzle.