Jordan is apprently obsolete slang for chamber pot, but what is the origin? It definitely appears in Grose's 1811 dictionary, but I've seen references as far back as the Elizabethan era. It's apparently used in Shakespeare and Chaucer. Takeourword.com, issue 96, suggests the word comes from the river, on the basis that both refer to a body of water, but I don't think that's enough. On that basis, the expression could have come from any river, so why jordan? I came across a reference to a "Jordan bottle" being a bottle of water from the Jordan, brought back by pilgrims. There was no reference to chamber pot but I wondered if that was the true origin of the term. It might have fitted nicely with a usage in the Canterbury Tales, but sadly I find no reference in Chaucer.