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Alternative forms[edit]


From the male given name John (q.v.), whose ubiquity led to extensive use of the name in generic contexts. Its use for toilets derives from John and Cousin John, which both probably relate to jacques and jakes, used in equivalent senses by the British and Irish.[1]



john (plural johns)

  1. (slang) A prostitute's client.
    Synonyms: see Thesaurus:prostitute's client
    • 1946, Mezz Mezzrow, Bernard Wolfe, Really the Blues, New York: Random House, page 22:
      The girls sat there while the johns (customers) moped around giving them the once-over.
    • 2004, Dennis Cooper, The Sluts, page 233:
      In the first part of the video, Thad sucks the john's cock and takes a load in his mouth.
    • 2013, McLachlin CJ, Canada (Attorney General) v. Bedford (2013 SCC 72), para. 62
      In-calls, where the john comes to the prostitute’s residence, are prohibited.
  2. (slang, US) A device or place to urinate and defecate: now usually a toilet or lavatory, but also (dated) a chamber pot or outhouse.
    Synonyms: see Thesaurus:chamber pot, Thesaurus:toilet, Thesaurus:bathroom
  3. (slang) A Western man traveling in East Asia.
  4. A male mule.

Derived terms[edit]


See also[edit]


  1. ^ Adams, Cecil. "Why Do We Call It the "John"?" The Straight Dope. 18 October 1985.

Central Franconian[edit]

Alternative forms[edit]


From Old High German gān, from Proto-Germanic *gāną.



john (third-person singular present jeht, past tense jeng, past participle jejange)

  1. (Ripuarian) to go