• loo •
lu • Hear it!
Part of Speech: Noun
Meaning: (British) Bathroom, restroom, toilet, lavatory, privy, water-closet, 'john', 'can', 'head'.
Notes: Todays Good Word is seldom encountered in the US except among those who have had extensive experience in the UK. It can also refer to a card game, a velvet mask worn by women in the 17th century, and a hot wind in the Punjab. However, these are all unrelated words, accidentally spelled the same.
In Play: Today's word reminds me of a story about an American tourist in Paris. He meets a Brit in a restaurant and they begin exchanging experiences in Paris. When the Brit asks, "Have you been to the Louvre?" The American, proud that he understands the British term, replies, "Yes, I just went. It's in the back of the restaurant."
Word History: Today's Good Word is a recent addition to the English vocabulary, appearing in print just in 1932. The origin should be pretty clear, but it is far from that. One suggestion is that it comes from French lieux d'aisances "bathroom", literally "place of ease", picked up by British servicemen in France during World War I. However, we are left with the question of why it turns up in print only in 1932. Another explanation is that it is a reduction of Waterloo, a pun based on an analogy with water closet. That is what the "WC" represents on European bathrooms today. However, both these explanations are just guesses. (Now we thank David Myer for recommending today's Good if potentially stinky Word.)
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