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Re: "the can"

Posted by R. Berg on August 21, 2001

In Reply to: Re: "Can" posted by Tiko on August 21, 2001

: : : : What an absurd word for toilet..dont you think!

: : : Maybe is stems from urinating in a bucket (Can).

: : : When did that word become synonomous with toilet ..tiko maybe you can shed some of your brilliant thoughts with the rest of us.

: Yes. Maybe I can......to match your brilliant question.

Hey, guys, can it! What say we wash our hands and move this discussion from the bathroom to the library? The Oxford Engl. Dict. doesn't have this meaning for "can" at all (the next edition probably will, though), but it does record several centuries of use of "can" as a vessel for holding liquids, generally. The Dict. of Amer. Slang does have the meaning "a toilet; a rest room," with a quotation from 1943: "The gents' room at the Radio City Music Hall [N.Y.C. theater] is the biggest and most magnificent can on earth." Webster's Second Unabridged has the U.S. slang meaning "a jail" but not the toilet/restroom meaning--whether because the editors were being prim or because that meaning wasn't yet current, I don't know.