Printable Version
Pronunciation: gah(r)-di-lu Hear it!

Part of Speech: Interjection

Meaning: Contrary to popular belief, the colorful expression gardyloo does not mean "protect the bathroom". Rather, it is an exclamatory warning alerting passers-by to dirty water (or worse) about to be dropped from a window above.

Notes: The second-floor dwellers in obscure 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 nowadays elsewhere.

In Play: Since the invention of indoor plumbing, the need for this interjection has contracted considerably. Moreover, since it is an interjection, it is used alone and not in sentences, making the creation of example sentences problematic. However, if you think dropping water bombs from upper-story windows will help cooler heads prevail in the world below, you might cover your actions by shouting, "Gardyloo!" before loosing your next aquagrenade.

Word History: Legend has it that French King Philippe Auguste (1180-1223) was drenched with the contents of a chamber pot while strolling the streets of Paris one afternoon. His reaction to this misfortune was to issue an edict directing all Parisians to exclaim, gare l'eau! "look out for the water" before dumping sordid liquids from an upper-story window. While France eventually forgot this courtesy, the Scots took it more to heart, adding the magic of Scots English to the sophisticated French phrase, thereby creating this funny little exclamation. Or so the legend goes.

Dr. Goodword,

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