Difference Between a Toilet & a Lavatory

Many people use words like toilet, lavatory, restroom, bathroom, powder room, and loo interchangeably, but they are not technically synonymous. This article will focus on the distinctions between the words toilet and lavatory, which are commonly used to describe a space or room for relieving oneself.

Toilet has its origins in the fixtures installed in a small room designed for human waste elimination, such as urination and excretion. Over time, this word has evolved to refer more to the room itself than the fixtures. The term toilet was once used exclusively for spaces with plumbing fixtures separate from bathing areas, but now, toilets are often incorporated into bathrooms.

The word lavatory comes from the Greek word meaning “I wash” and was initially used for communal washrooms, particularly in monasteries. Later, it became a euphemism for toilets, which were considered impolite or improper, especially in America. Today, lavatory is more common than toilet and is the term used by airlines worldwide for washrooms.

Key Takeaways

  • The word “toilet” initially referred to plumbing fixtures and installations within a room for human waste elimination, but it has come to refer to the room itself.
  • Lavatory, derived from a Greek word meaning “I wash,” was initially used for communal washrooms and later became a euphemism for toilets.
  • Today, the term “lavatory” is more commonly used than “toilet,” especially in airlines around the world.
Dmitri Ivanov
Dmitri Ivanovhttps://whats-different.com
Dmitri Ivanov, a writer and managing editor, was educated in Canada and holds a BS in Science. Dmitri loves doing research, writing, and teaching various courses.


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