Gardyloo

May 12, 2022

Gardyloo/ interjection / gar·​dy·​loo

“Gardyloo” is a warning term created out of necessity to safeguard citizens on Edinburgh city streets from toilet waste being thrown out of the windows of tenement apartment buildings. When “gardyloo” entered the language, it was common (and legal) for residents of Edinburgh to dispose of household toilet waste by tossing it out the window. The city named the law that governed “gardyloo” disposal ‘The Nastiness Act.’ As a part of the act of legal toilet waste disposal during preset hours, people used the cry of “gardyloo” to let others know to watch out for water waste being thrown into the streets from the windows up above.

In a Sentence

The law governing the legal act of throwing toilet waste out the window and yelling gardyloo is still on the record. 

If you hear someone yell “gardyloo” while you’re walking down the street, take cover!

The Scottish King changed the “gardyloo” law when he was accidentally soiled.

Etymology

We find the first recorded use of “gardyloo” in the early 16th century around 1622, when Scottish residents emptied chamber pots from the upper floors of residential tenements and apartment buildings. Etymologists say we derived this popular interjection from a French term that translates into “lookout for the water.” Since gardyloo means to “toss wastewater out of a window onto the street, it makes sense that the French used the term in this way.

Synonym

Curdly, Gradely

Antonym

Waste, Urine

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