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post #6891 of (permalink) Old 04-09-2018, 12:31 PM
Eschew Prolixity
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More about theory #2:

"The French euphemism “lieux” (pronounced “loo,” from “lieux d’aisance,” meaning “places of comfort” or “comfort stations”) might well have been picked up by British soldiers in France during World War I (1914-17). The period between the war and the first appearance of “loo” in print would be about right for armed services slang to percolate into general usage."

Not nearly as much fun as this one:

“The Perfect Summer” by Juliet Nicolson, page 80, reads: “Lady Louisa Anson, an intimidating guest at Viceregal Lodge in (Victorian) Ireland, was so rude to the Viceroy’s children they stole the name card from her bedroom door and slid it into the holder on the door of the water closet. The lady was not amused when the maid persistently misdelivered her morning tea. The story spread and from then on people needing a discreet reason to excuse themselves would announce they were off to visit Lady Loo or as it became known simply ‘The Loo’.” Could this be true? — Roger Baker.

Absolutely not. I’ve removed a few of the question marks you appended to your query for emphasis, but your incredulity is richly justified. That story is nonsense. I must say, however, that it is curiously attractive because it exhibits several of the key elements of a successful urban legend. There’s the presence of the aristocracy, always a winner. More importantly, the snobby rich person gets her comeuppance at the hands of the downtrodden (albeit also rich) children she has wronged. And the whole tale centers on the socially taboo subject of toilets. No wonder the author was suckered by that story."

From the website: The Word Detective
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