18 November 2012

In 'Loo' Of...

Can you imagine this award ceremony?

Parking garage, Stratford-Upon-Avon

If you are an American visiting England,
you quickly learn that asking for the 'bathroom' or 'restroom' 
will only get you quizzical looks

'Toilet' is what you are really looking for
(although it sounds crude to my ears)

'Loo' is an informal British synonym thrown about as well

The origin of the curious word 'loo' is unknown,
although there are a few unsubstantiated theories circulating:

-  Medieval servants would yell 'gardyloo' 
(from the French regardez l'eau 'watch out for the water')
as chamber posts were emptied out of upstairs windows into the street -

- Using the French word le lieu (the place) sounds more polite -

- The trade name 'Waterloo' appeared on iron cisterns in many British outhouses
during the early 20th century -

I must say I have yet to meet a person here by the name of Lou,
much less Lulu

Every good mom has moments of dueling their kids
with potty talk

Welcome to my world :)  

- photo by me -



Razzle Dazzle Quilter said...

Have you not heard of Lulu pop star of the 60s?

I. Always think it 's so funny to say bathroom - when was the last time you went bathroom and washed all over?

It's our differences that make us so interesting - don't you think?


Linda from down under - where we also say Toilet or loo

WinnibriggsHouse said...

It's strange that the word toilet sounds crude as for a lady to complete her 'toilet' was considered very gentile. In posh circles one never says toilet, but lavatory, which always strikes me as even worse!

Sandra said...

Interesting subject! How about that! Loo of the year! LOL! Yes, I'd heard of the "Waterloo" link before and also that of "Regardez l'eau" during medieval times!
The word 'toilet' sounds crude to your ears but normal to mine! As an English native, asking for the bathroom is when you want to take a bath and I never understood what a restroom was! To rest? What about the "powder room"?! Who powders their noses any more? The expression I like the least is: "The little girl's room" as I'm no longer a 'little girl'!!!
In English I talk about 'the loo' and in French I say "je vais au petit coin"!
Petit = small and coin = corner! As in 'going to the little room' which I find sounds quite sweet! Over here, toilets with a washbasin are often separate from the bathroom, so asking for the bathroom could turn out to be embarrassing!

Happy Homemaker UK said...

Ha! The word 'lavatory' is only a restroom when flying on an airplane in the US :)

Happy Homemaker UK said...

We still use the word 'powder room' in the US, as it is the bathroom in a house without a bath :)

Pet said...

What about lavatory?

Gesci said...

When we first moved over and I was adjusting to asking for the "toilet" (Harrogate may be posh, but it's still Yorkshire!), I giggled because growing up in the States we are corrected to say "restroom" as the polite term and "bathroom" is the more at-home, comfortable term. Then we move somewhere where adults say "wee" and "poo" and fancy restaurants direct me to the "toilet"!
Now, I admit, it's taking me some getting used to to revert back to "restroom"!!

my little red suitcase said...

you could always just go for a 'tinkle' instead!! Heather x

Loo xx from Jumbles and Pompoms said...

I'm a Loo to my friends! I'm a Lucie really although some boys once called me Loo Seat! Cheeky!

Tammy Chrzan said...

Haha Laura! Great post!
I do have a little niece named LuLu, I shall never look at her the same :)

Gillian said...

So funny! I never really thought about the origins of the word loo before, although it's a word I probably use a lot!

Vintage Sheet Addict said...

Thanks for the giggle!!! :(

Vintage Sheet Addict said...

Should be :) x

Erin Moran said...

Man, you're so lucky to have visited the Loo of the Year 2011!!! That truly made me giggle. I now have a new goal, to visit every Loo of the Year!

Erin x

Dave D said...

Other "descriptive" names for the loo are: the throne (room), the khazi, the WC, the porcelain telephone, the bog (one I generally use), the dunny (Australian), the crap*er (used a lot), the little boys room, the heads (on a boat/ship), the pis*er, the latrine and the privy. If you want to be "subtle" about visiting the loo, quite a few blokes I know at work (including me) use the term "going to see a man about a dog".

Annie @ knitsofacto said...

My English cousin is called Lou ... she lives in Arizona ;)

And to add to Dave's comment, another euphemism in country places is 'off to splash my wellies', which beats 'powdering one's nose' ;)

Happy Homemaker UK said...

That's hilarious! I could see us using that as a code name when we move back to the US, as no one knows the word wellies :)

Iota said...

I have to confess that when I was choosing names for my daughter, I was put off Lucy (otherwise a favourite of mine) by the idea that she could be teased at school with the connection to loo, or loo seat (and I notice that a previous commenter had this problem).

In British English, we pronounce "in lieu of" with a definite Y. We say "in leeyoo of". I noticed that in American English, it was "in loo of". I wonder if we're squeamish about dropping the Y because of the word loo.

Happy Homemaker UK said...

I hadn't noticed the difference in pronunciation - I'll have to notice that extra 'y' sound. Thanks for the insights as always, Miss Iota