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From French vespasienne.


vespasienne (plural vespasiennes)

  1. A public street urinal in France.
    • 1974, Lawrence Durrell, Monsieur, Faber & Faber, published 1992, page 171:
      Pia loves Rob, she had written it with her lipstick on the walls of the vespasienne in the Rue Colombe, waiting for him to finish, holding her pampered borzoi on the leash.


A vespasienne in Boulevard Arago, Paris.


Ellipsis of colonne vespasienne (Vespasian column), named after Vespasian (9 CE–79 CE), the Roman emperor who introduced a tax on public lavatories.


  • IPA(key): /vɛɛn/
  • (file)


vespasienne f (plural vespasiennes)

  1. public street urinal
    • 1938, Léon Daudet, “XI”, in La vie orageuse de Clemenceau:
      Comme il sortait de chez lui ce matin-là, en voiture non blindée — il n’avait jamais voulu consentir dans Paris à cette élémentaire précaution — un individu, qui le guettait depuis quelques jours, bondit de derrière une vespasienne au coin de la rue Franklin et du boulevard Delessert et tira plusieurs balles dans sa direction.
      As he was leaving his house that morning, in a non-armoured car – he had never wanted to take that basic precaution in Paris – an individual, who had been watching him for several days, leapt out from behind a public urinal on the corner of Rue Franklin and Boulevard Delessert and fired multiple shots in his direction.

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