The word gardyloo is a warning cry uttered before throwing wastewater (literally and euphemistically) out of a window. Every source I've found has traced this word back to some French phrase translating as "watch out for the water." However, the specific French phrase seems to vary. I've seen the following:
- Wiktionary: "Garde à l'eau"
- The Free Dictionary: "Gare à l'eau"
- oxforddictionaries.com: "Regardez l'eau"
- unusuedwords.com: "Garde de l'eau" or "Gardez l'eau"
I'm not a French speaker, but from what I remember, I would expect that the imperative "look out" or "watch for" would be given using the "-ez" ending (second person plural / formal) versus the "e" ending (second person singular / informal), so I suspect that it's probably "Gardez" or "Regardez." However, I don't know enough French to know whether "Gardez l'eau" or "Garde à l'eau" would be grammatically or semantically correct.
What French phrase actually gives rise to "gardyloo?" If it's not entirely clear, could someone at least enlighten me as to which of the above phrases would be grammatically and semantically correct?