gingerbread office

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From gingerbread (in its figurative use as ersatz or unpleasant) + office (place to fulfill one's obligations; place of business)[1]


gingerbread office (plural gingerbread offices)

  1. (obsolete, euphemistic slang) An outhouse: an outbuilding used as a lavatory.
    • a. 1643, William Cartwright, Lady-Errant, Act V, Scene i:
      There's no great need of Souldiers;
      Their Camp's No larger than a Ginger-bread Office.
    • 2001, Chris Mounsey, Christopher Smart: Clown of God[1], page 192:
      "Gingerbread office" was an eighteenth-century slang term for public toilets, which were, Norton argues, meeting places for homosexuals to engage in sexual encounters. "Gingerbread-kake" and "ginger-bred queen" suggest what may happen in the "office" and name those involved.
    • 2013, Noel Chevalier, "Breaking the Circle of the Sciences" in Reading Christopher Smart in the Twenty-First Century, p. 139:
      Mounsey also suggests that one poem in the volume further links Smart with homosexuality in its use of the term "gingerbread-office" as slang for a public toilet used for gay sexual encounters... If Mounsey is correct, then the later History of Giles Gingerbread may contain more than meets the eye, especially since its final poem is signed with the known Smart pseudonym, Tom Tagg.
  2. (architecture) An office in the gingerbread Victorian style.
    • 1968, in The Discovery of Drama, p. 378:
      Morley: A year and a half ago I stumbled into your gingerbread office, a lost, frightened soul in terrified flight across the great yawning terror of doubt—a human being, in short!—and you chanted some hagridden formulas and danged some fylfots...
    • 1975, Dental Survey, Vol. 51, p. 92:
      The conversion of an old bungalow into a "gingerbread office" has brought to life a 13-year dream of mine.


See also[edit]


  1. ^ "gingerbread, n.", in the Oxford English Dictionary (1899), Oxford: Oxford University Press.