"That's a great deal to make one word mean," Alice said in a thoughtful tone. "When I make a word do a lot of work like that," said Humpty Dumpty, "I always pay it extra."

Tuesday, 10 February 2009

A Loo Table

The other day I came across a reference to a loo table. At first I imagined it was a table to be found in a loo (English slang for a toilet) but the context didn’t seem quite right.

In fact, a loo table was a large round or oval table for playing loo on.

It was hinged so that it could be stored flat against a wall when not in use.

Loo was a trick-taking card game for five or more players. It was equally popular as a disreputable gambling game, when it could get quite vicious, or as a mild domestic pastime, such as appeared in the novels of Jane Austen. There were two forms - one played with three cards and the other with five. Both reached England from France probably with the restoration of the monarchy in 1660. Loo is short for Lanterloo which in turn is from the French lenturlu, a meaningless refrain used in lullabies.
(For more about the game of Loo se David Parlett’s site)

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