• Gardyloo! •Pronunciation: gah(r)-di-lu
Part of Speech: Interjection
Meaning: An exclamation alerting passers-by to dirty water or more offensive liquid about to be dropped from a window above their heads.
Notes: The second-floor dwellers in parts of Scotland traditionally shout this warning before emptying their wash bowls and slop buckets onto the street below. It is a good word to know when strolling the by-ways of Kiltland even if it is of little use elsewhere.
In Play: If you are a student with so little homework that you have time to drop water bombs out the window of your dorm, you should at least show the courtesy to shout, "Gardyloo!" before loosing your next aquagrenade. But why restrict this rippingly cute heads-up to plummeting liquid? "Fore!" on the golf course always struck me as a limp sound, too easily ignored. If we shouted, "Gardyloo!" other golfers would fall down laughing, clearing the way for our ball much faster.
Word History: According to legend, King Philippe Auguste of France (1180-1223) was drenched with the contents of a chamber pot on while strolling the streets of Paris. The upshot of his misfortune was a regulation directing all upstairs Parisians to exclaim, "gare à l'eau!" (look out for the water!) before dumping sordid liquids out the window. Why the Scots took to this word is anyone's guess. However, for whatever reason. they did add their magic to the sophisticated French phrase to create today's good and funny word. (Miriam Brown's suggestion of this word seemed to have the ring of experience but perhaps I read too much into it.)