Word            Pronunciation             Definition            Source

  • outhouse (out’hous’) n. An outdoor toilet housed in a small structure. The American Heritage Dictionary – Second College Edition
  • outhouse (out’hous’) n. 1. An enclosed structure having a seat with one or two holes over a pit and serving as an outdoor toilet. 2. An outbuilding, as on a farm. The American Heritage College Dictionary – Third Edition
  • outhouse \aut-haus\ n. OUTBUILDING: esp: PRIVY Webster’s New Collegiate Dictionary

I received the following from a Mr. Wm. J. Bowen in Europe regarding some Outhouse information that I found interesting.

Mr. Bowen has been fascinated by the UK terms used concerning the ‘lieux d’aisance’ and their social implications and offers the following explanation of the following various terms:

  • “Toilet” lower class (probable origin : “toilette” a fine 18th century Dutch cloth used for upper class women’s apparel in France.
  • “Tallyrand spent 4 hours at his morning toilet while having breakfast (chocolate) and receiving visitors”.
  • “Bog” public school term.
  • “Thunder box” military term of times past for a portable chamber pot.
  • “Loo” reputed to be a theatrical term and today the general usage term (definitely not “U”).
  • False euphemistic origin : The “place”, the “lieu”.
  • “The Expedition of Humphrey Clinker” by Tobais Smollet : “The chamber maid would cry “Garaloo” (“gare à l’eau”) before emptying the chamber pot into the street from the upstairs window.
  • “Crapper” US Apparently one Thomas Crapper patented in the UK a “Silent Valveless Water Waste Preventer”.
  • You can read all kind of information about Thomas Crapper by doing a search on our web site or go to the FAQ section and Folklore section.
  • “John” apparently, Sir John Harrington invented the principle of the apparatus in the late 16th century.
  • “W.C.” “Water Closet”, a term still used in many places Europe.
  • “Crap” it might be suggested that popular parlance and uninhibited punning spawned such terms as “love” for zero in tennis (“l’oeuf” = “goose egg” or nil in the early “jeu de paume”) and “craps” (“crepes” an 18th century dice game mentioned in Casanova).


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