Loo is slang for the bathroom, or lavatory. This term originated in British English and is frequently used in the United Kingdom, Australia, India, and other English-speaking countries. It is especially common in British public school settings.
It is sometimes shortened to just “the loo” and is usually a reference to the toilet. It is also sometimes used as a euphemism for “bathroom”, especially in more formal settings.
What is the origin of loo?
The origin of the word loo is somewhat uncertain, but it is believed to originally be derived from the French phrase “guardez l’eau!” which translates to “watch out for the water!” This warning likely refers to the water closets (WCs) of the 18th century, which were commonly located on the upper floors of houses, where the overflow of waste could pour out and make a mess of the floors below.
This phrase became more commonly known as “gardy-loo” or “loo”, and was used as a warning in England when the contents of chamber pots were thrown out of upper story windows into the streets below. Over time, the word “loo” has been used to refer to the WC itself, rather than just a warning associated with it.
Why do British people say loo?
The origin of the word “loo” to refer to the toilet is said to have started in Britain in the late 1700s. The English have a long history of using colorful or humorous words for body functions, and this appears to have been one of them.
The word “loo” may have originated from “gardyloo,” which is an ancient Scottish warning cry meaning “watch out for the water” when someone was about to empty his night chamber pot out of an upper floor window into the street below.
In French, this same cry is “garde a l’eau,” which is pronounced similarly to “loo. ” Over time, the word “loo” came to refer to the toilet itself and spread throughout Britain.
What is loo called in America?
In America, ‘loo’ is not commonly used as a term for a toilet. Rather, ‘toilet’ is the most common term, although ‘restroom’ and ‘bathroom’ are also sometimes used. Similarly, ‘loo roll’ would not be understood as a term for toilet paper.
Other terms such as ‘toilet paper’, ’tissue’, and ‘TP’ are more likely to be recognized. Ultimately, the most appropriate term may depend on the context and the location, as specific terms may be more common regionally.
Is loo American or British?
The use of the word “loo” is actually thought to have originated in Britain, however over time it has been adopted into more and more areas. The word was first used as a slang term to refer to a toilet, and dates back to the late 1700s.
Today, it can be found in both British and North American English, though its usage is more commonly associated with British and Commonwealth countries. In North American English, the word “bathroom” is more likely to be used for the same meaning.
Who invented loo?
The “loo”—or what we now know as the modern toilet—was invented by the English inventor Sir Thomas Crapper in the 19th century. Crapper improved existing models of toilets, building more efficient and effective designs.
He was an innovator in the field of sanitation engineering and developed various kinds of valves, flush tanks, and waste-trapping mechanisms. Prior to Crapper’s invention, outhouses were the standard in Britain.
In fact, Crapper’s business received recognition from King Edward VII and Queen Victoria for helping to modernize sanitation. By popularizing the modern toilet, Crapper shifted the way people thought about waste management, placing a higher priority on cleanliness and health.
Despite numerous rumors regarding the etymology of the name “loo”, its origin remains a mystery.
Is it correct to say toilet or loo?
Yes, it is perfectly correct to say “toilet” or “loo. ” In fact, both words can be used interchangeably to refer to the same thing: a room, area, or outdoor space with a functioning plumbing fixture for defecating and/or urinating.
In the United States, it is most common to refer to such a space as a “toilet. ” In other parts of the world, such as the United Kingdom, it is more common to refer to such a space as a “loo. ” In either case, the terms “toilet” and “loo” both serve to refer to the same thing.
Why Is the loo called the head?
The origin of the phrase “Head” when referring to a ship’s bathroom, or “loo,” is a bit of a mystery. One theory suggests it has to do with the fact that during early sea voyages, sailors would have to take a leak out near the front of the ship, near the “head” of the vessel.
Alternatively, the phrase could be a reference to the phrase “head,” as in the uppermost part of a ship, because this was typically where the loo was located on early ships.
Still another theory points to the Anglo-Saxon term for boat, “Hed”, as the possible source of the phrase. Other cultures also used terms to describe a boat’s bathroom that sound similar or related to “Head”, so it’s possible the phrase has an earlier origin in nautical language.
Ultimately, the exact roots of the phrase are unclear, but what is certain is that sailors have been saying “Head” when referring to the loo since at least the seventeenth century.
What do Brits call restroom?
The restroom, or what is known to Americans as the bathroom, is referred to by Brits as the loo or toilet. The term “loo” has become extremely popular in the United Kingdom and other parts of the world and is often used casually in conversation.
“Toilet” is also widely used, but it can be seen as slightly more formal or technical. For example, you may hear someone in a restaurant asking the waiter which toilet they should use. The terms “lavatory” and “washroom” are also largely used, and although not as common, are still widely recognised.
Does loo mean love?
No, “loo” does not mean love. “Loo” is a British English slang term referring to a lavatory. It comes from the French “lieu” meaning “place”, which the British adopted into a toilet-related term that has been in use since the 1700s.
Common phrases related to it are “I’m going to the loo” or “I need to use the loo”, referring to the need to visit a restroom. Therefore, “loo” does not mean love and is not used in that context.
Is toilet a vulgar word?
No, toilet is not a vulgar word. In fact, it is a perfectly acceptable term for the appliance most people use in their bathroom to flush bodily waste away. The word itself is derived from the French word “toilette”, which originally referred to the act of grooming oneself.
The word was adopted into English in 15th century and gradually came to mean the bowl-shaped bathroom fixture. It is used in a wide variety of contexts, from house cleaning and renovations to medical research, to reference the bathroom appliance.
Although there may be certain contexts or cultures in which “toilet” may be considered slightly rude or vulgar, for the most part it is not considered vulgar nor should it be prohibited from polite conversation.
Is saying loo posh?
No, saying “loo” is not posh. The term “loo” is a slang word for a toilet, usually a public bathroom or lavatory, which originated in Britain in the nineteenth century. It is considered quite informal and is often used in spoken English rather than formal or written language.
Therefore, it is not considered to be posh.
What do they call a toilet in Australia?
In Australia, toilets are commonly referred to as “the loo,” “the dunny,” “the lav,” or “the throne. ” The term “the loo” is possibly derived from the French phrase “gardez l’eau” which translates to “mind the water!” It’s believed that British soldiers used the phrase in the 1700s and brought it to Australia, where it has become a commonly used term for the toilet.
The term “dunny” is believed to have originated in New Zealand and Australia in the early 1900s and is derived from the old English word “dunneken,” which means an outdoor toilet. Another term, “the lav,” is short for lavatory and also found its roots in Britain.
The term “the throne” is a bit more modern and simply refers to the toilet’s resemblance to a throne.
Why do Americans call the loo a John?
It’s not entirely clear why Americans call the loo a “John,” but there are a few potential explanations that have been offered over the years. One is that the use of the term is derived from the name of America’s first president, John Adams; it’s postulated that the word “John” became associated with toilets due to Adams’ reputation as a logician and “johnny” being a slang term for a bathroom attendant.
Another possibility is that the term comes from the slang term “johnny house”—a temporary outhouse type structure constructed of scrap lumber. Finally, other theories posit that the term was adopted from African American culture as an homage to “Jolly John” Pope, who patented an improved outhouse in 1883, or due to a manufacturer of flushing toilets, John Harington, who invented them nearly 400 years ago.
Ultimately, however, the true origin of the term remains a mystery.