In Michael Bishop's SF book Transfigurations (1979), the author (in the course of the narration by the main character) refers in several instances to one or another "debussy", by which he evidently means a bathroom (i.e. a loo/WC/toilet/washroom, depending on your local usage).

I've never encountered this elsewhere and searching has turned up nothing. Is this an invented usage of the author's, or is there some precedent somewhere?

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    I'll thank users for refraining from edits that change the meaning of the question (and from editorializing on which country has a more "absurd" term). In the book, it referred to an indoor room that included a shower stall. Not, say, an outdoor trench.
    – Jacob C.
    Commented Sep 16, 2019 at 21:40

1 Answer 1


"Debussy" is a phonetic representation of pronouncing "WC," not to be mistaken for the classical composer Claude Debussy. Basically, the author's employing an eye dialect to show how the character pronounces--or mispronounces--the letter W (double u) in WC.

  • Comments are not for extended discussion; this conversation has been moved to chat.
    – tchrist
    Commented Sep 29, 2019 at 19:22

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