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The bog

Posted by Irene robinson on September 13, 2003

In Reply to: The bog posted by James Briggs on September 12, 2003

: : : Why do some people in Britain - I think it may be Irish people in particular - refer to the toilet at "the bog"? Shae?

: : The Compact OED says it is 'British informal' for toilet. It is seldom used in Ireland, so I think it must indeed be British. 'The john' is another British expression for 'toilet,' while 'the jacks' is commonly used in Ireland. I've no idea why, though.

: Actually, the 'john' is virtually unused in the UK - we regard it as a US term. We widely use 'Loo'. The origin of this word is as diverse and obscure as that of 'OK'!!!

I believe the word "loo" meaning the toilet comes from the french "l'eau" (water). In days gone by, before proper sanitation, people would throw their slops out of the window, shouting "Guardez l'eau!" - watch out for the water!