Etiquette Hell

A Civil World. Off-topic discussions on a variety of topics. Guests, register for forum membership to see all the boards. => Trans-Atlantic Knowledge Exchange => Topic started by: #borecore on March 04, 2013, 09:45:18 AM

Title: Shh! Don't say "toilet"! (potential for gross-out, but please don't go there)
Post by: #borecore on March 04, 2013, 09:45:18 AM
We all use different words at different times, I think, but what are your most common ways to talk about that place where you go when nature calls?

In what situations would you use a different word? Are you blunt or euphemistic?

(I was inspired by EllenS's comments, " Also, it's a quirk but to me the term "restroom" sounds like a public facility. "bathroom" or "powder room" feel more naturaltome. And in my part of the country, nobody would ever refer to the "toilet" unless they were talking about cleaning it!" I, for one, would never think of saying "powder room.")

If you don't mind including your region/age/gender, I think that might make it more interesting.
Title: Re: Shh! Don't say "toilet"! (potential for gross-out, but please don't go there)
Post by: sparksals on March 04, 2013, 09:47:58 AM
Born and raised in Canada, now live in the US.  47 YO.

In my part of Canada, washroom is pretty much the norm and the more polite term.  Otherwise bathroom is perfectly acceptable.  Very rarely do people say, "Can I use your toilet?".  It is usually may I use your Washroom?
Title: Re: Shh! Don't say "toilet"! (potential for gross-out, but please don't go there)
Post by: Curly Wurly Doggie Breath on March 04, 2013, 09:48:26 AM
*wispers* We call it the Dunny   or even *gasp* the LOO  ;D

Most people just ask me where the Toilet is.
Title: Re: Shh! Don't say "toilet"! (potential for gross-out, but please don't go there)
Post by: Yvaine on March 04, 2013, 09:51:42 AM
I know there's a thing in England of calling the whole room "the toilet." I remember being surprised by it when reading Harry Potter. It's not so much that they're being more blunt by talking about the actual throne rather than the room, it's that "toilet" is the name of the room over there, I think. (And really, it comes from a word that means something more like "grooming," so I think we USians are the weird ones to have attached the word so firmly to the actual bowl.)

I'm in the Midwestern US. I say "restroom" in a public place or "bathroom" in a private home if I'm asking where it is. There is a joke among some of my friends of calling it literally "the euphemism." With really close friends, I sometimes just tell them I'll be right back because I need to pee (though if I'm doing the other thing, I don't announce that).

I had a grade school teacher who said "washroom." I wonder if she was originally from Canada!
Title: Re: Shh! Don't say "toilet"! (potential for gross-out, but please don't go there)
Post by: veryfluffy on March 04, 2013, 10:04:42 AM
In the UK, asking for the bathroom would make people wonder why you needed a bath.

The most usual word is probably "loo", whether at someone's home or in a restaurant, etc.  Using the word "toilet" isn't as common as it was. In public situations--  eg pubs, restaurants, shopping centres, halls -- you'd be most likely to ask "Where are the loos?" or possible "Where is the Ladies/Gents?" I don't think the words restroom or powder room are much in use.
Title: Re: Shh! Don't say "toilet"! (potential for gross-out, but please don't go there)
Post by: Rohanna on March 04, 2013, 10:08:44 AM
Bathroom or washroom, though any of the above would be understood. Powder room would seem a tad "twee" here, and toilet would be a little blunt and probably raise an eyebrow. Restroom has definate business connetations - a "restroom" is found in a gas station or mall mostly.
Title: Re: Shh! Don't say "toilet"! (potential for gross-out, but please don't go there)
Post by: Yvaine on March 04, 2013, 10:10:13 AM
Bathroom or washroom, though any of the above would be understood. Powder room would seem a tad "twee" here, and toilet would be a little blunt and probably raise an eyebrow. Restroom has definate business connetations - a "restroom" is found in a gas station or mall mostly.

Oh, and there's also ladies' room and men's room, also more for public than private bathrooms. But unlike in England, "room" is always appended to the end--it's not just the Ladies'. Though I've always kind of liked the sound of that.
Title: Re: Shh! Don't say "toilet"! (potential for gross-out, but please don't go there)
Post by: #borecore on March 04, 2013, 10:13:45 AM
When asking an employee for directions in public, I'll say, "Excuse me, where is the ladies' room?" just to differentiate from the (usually separate) men's facilities. I don't make a habit of mentioning it to my companions, but if I must, it's restroom, bathroom, or toilet/stall if referring to the unit, such as a whispered warning to a girlfriend, "Avoid the third stall, there's no toilet paper!"

I'll ask, "Where's your bathroom?" in a private home. Or tell my guests our bathroom is upstairs.
Title: Re: Shh! Don't say "toilet"! (potential for gross-out, but please don't go there)
Post by: Hmmmmm on March 04, 2013, 10:25:07 AM
48 YO, Texas...in most cases I refer to it as restroom if asking to use it while a guest.  If an overnight guest is visiting, I will say I put clean towels out in the bathroom or I'll tell the kids they need to go clean their bathroom.
Title: Re: Shh! Don't say "toilet"! (potential for gross-out, but please don't go there)
Post by: Piratelvr1121 on March 04, 2013, 10:33:05 AM
I call it all sorts of different things, depending on my mood, really.  I'm in my 30's and living in Maryland, and the toilet in our house is often referred to by just about every word there is for the room. 

Loo, potty, latrine, the head, bathroom, little girl's room, little boy's room, commode, throne, etc. 
Title: Re: Shh! Don't say "toilet"! (potential for gross-out, but please don't go there)
Post by: RingTailedLemur on March 04, 2013, 10:39:07 AM
In the UK, asking for the bathroom would make people wonder why you needed a bath.

The most usual word is probably "loo", whether at someone's home or in a restaurant, etc.  Using the word "toilet" isn't as common as it was. In public situations--  eg pubs, restaurants, shopping centres, halls -- you'd be most likely to ask "Where are the loos?" or possible "Where is the Ladies/Gents?" I don't think the words restroom or powder room are much in use.

I agree.

There is also "the little girls' room".
Title: Re: Shh! Don't say "toilet"! (potential for gross-out, but please don't go there)
Post by: WillyNilly on March 04, 2013, 10:41:11 AM
IME, in NY most people say "bathroom" in a home and "restroom" or "ladies room" (or "men's room") in a business, although "bathroom" wouldn't be unusual even in a business.
But I think most people would totally understand and not really blink an eye at "washroom", "powder room","the head", or "the john". "The john" is usually said by men, and usually in bars (or by men who frequent bars).

"Toilet" would be weird to hear, as would "water closet" which I've heard is used in parts of Europe (and certainly I recall seeing doors labelled "WC" which were in fact restrooms). In fact "water closet" or "WC" might legitimately not be understood at all, same with "loo".  And as far as "loo" I think if someone without an accent said it here, many people would internally think "[eyeroll] geez a bit too much BBC America?"

Personally I can't stand the word "potty" often used by people when speaking to children or (IMO) when condescending to adults.
Title: Re: Shh! Don't say "toilet"! (potential for gross-out, but please don't go there)
Post by: camlan on March 04, 2013, 11:32:51 AM
Originally from Boston, grew up all over the place thanks to a military parent.

Mostly, it's "Where's the bathroom?" in a private home, "Ladies'" or "Ladies' Room" out in public places.

My mom's family uses "facilities." As in, "I need to use the facilities before we leave."

Older family members say "the john." I don't hear that much any more.
Title: Re: Shh! Don't say "toilet"! (potential for gross-out, but please don't go there)
Post by: EllenS on March 04, 2013, 01:09:02 PM

My mom's family uses "facilities." As in, "I need to use the facilities before we leave."


My family also says "the facilites" as an in-joke.  We also used to have an in-joke when on road trips, where my mom would say, "I need to stop for some tourist information" - since that is often on highway signs designating a rest stop.  At home growing up it was usually the "bathroom" or "powder room" in a house and "the ladies room" or "the restroom" in public.

With close friends, I have also used "loo", "the ladies" and even "the W.C.".  But I am admittedly rather twee and definitely watch way too much BBC America - sometimes while knitting tea cozies. (yes, really)

I am trying to break the habit of calling it the "potty", having recently completed potty training 2 little kids.

41 y.o, from the southeastern U.S.
Title: Re: Shh! Don't say "toilet"! (potential for gross-out, but please don't go there)
Post by: Judah on March 04, 2013, 01:11:39 PM
Lived in California all my life.

In a business I'd as for the ladies room or restroom. In a home it's a bathroom. A water closet refers to a bathroom that has only a toilet and sink, usually in the most public part of the house, though I'd never ask for the "water closet" because not everyone has one. The toilet is the actual fixture you eliminate in.
Title: Re: Shh! Don't say "toilet"! (potential for gross-out, but please don't go there)
Post by: Yvaine on March 04, 2013, 01:16:44 PM
Oh, I also say baño.
Title: Re: Shh! Don't say "toilet"! (potential for gross-out, but please don't go there)
Post by: Venus193 on March 04, 2013, 01:23:38 PM
IME, in NY most people say "bathroom" in a home and "restroom" or "ladies room" (or "men's room") in a business, although "bathroom" wouldn't be unusual even in a business.
But I think most people would totally understand and not really blink an eye at "washroom", "powder room","the head", or "the john". "The john" is usually said by men, and usually in bars (or by men who frequent bars).

"Toilet" would be weird to hear, as would "water closet" which I've heard is used in parts of Europe (and certainly I recall seeing doors labelled "WC" which were in fact restrooms). In fact "water closet" or "WC" might legitimately not be understood at all, same with "loo".  And as far as "loo" I think if someone without an accent said it here, many people would internally think "[eyeroll] geez a bit too much BBC America?"

Personally I can't stand the word "potty" often used by people when speaking to children or (IMO) when condescending to adults.

That also reflects my experience in NYC and I completely agree with the bolded.
Title: Re: Shh! Don't say "toilet"! (potential for gross-out, but please don't go there)
Post by: WillyNilly on March 04, 2013, 01:39:25 PM
Lived in California all my life.

In a business I'd as for the ladies room or restroom. In a home it's a bathroom. A water closet refers to a bathroom that has only a toilet and sink, usually in the most public part of the house, though I'd never ask for the "water closet" because not everyone has one. The toilet is the actual fixture you eliminate in.

 :D It has always been my understanding that is what a "powder room" is as well - just a toilet & sink, often near the living room or right off an entrance to the home.  And I tend to never use the phrase "powder room" for the same reason - most people I  know don't have one.
Title: Re: Shh! Don't say "toilet"! (potential for gross-out, but please don't go there)
Post by: Tilt Fairy on March 04, 2013, 01:43:12 PM
Agree with the other Brits on here. We call it the toilet or the loo.
Title: Re: Shh! Don't say "toilet"! (potential for gross-out, but please don't go there)
Post by: Margo on March 04, 2013, 01:45:36 PM
In the UK, asking for the bathroom would make people wonder why you needed a bath.

The most usual word is probably "loo", whether at someone's home or in a restaurant, etc.  Using the word "toilet" isn't as common as it was. In public situations--  eg pubs, restaurants, shopping centres, halls -- you'd be most likely to ask "Where are the loos?" or possible "Where is the Ladies/Gents?" I don't think the words restroom or powder room are much in use.

I agree.

There is also "the little girls' room".

I disagree a littler. I agree that 'toilet' or 'loo' are the most common but asking for the bathroom is very common and readily understood. I think if you were visiting someone's home and wanted to go "May I use your bathroom" or "where's the loo, please" would be equally normal and equally well understood.

In shops/restaurants etc I think most people would ask for the ladies or gents, or for the toilets.

WC is readily understood but I think is less and less common, especially in speech  (you still see it on doors, sometimes)

Things like little girls/little boys room sound would be readily understood but come across as a bit twee.

I think most people would know what you were asking for is you said 'powder room' or 'rest room' but these terms aren't common terms - in the absence of evidence to the contrary I'd assume someone using those terms was a visiting American :-)

casual terminology include 'the bog' or 'the bogs' (or, most specifically, 'the [school] bog') 'the smallest room' or 'the khazi' (that last I think started as army slang - my grandfather, who served in WWII used to use it, and I think it's usually older people who would use that term)

(I'm a Brit in her 30s)

Title: Re: Shh! Don't say "toilet"! (potential for gross-out, but please don't go there)
Post by: Yvaine on March 04, 2013, 01:47:56 PM
Oh, on the silly slang front, my dad would always say "I'll be in my office." In one place I lived, we'd say we were going to go study architecture, because there was a big encyclopedic book about architecture in the house that somehow became the typical "bathroom reading" (I think probably because it was easily read in small snippets).
Title: Re: Shh! Don't say "toilet"! (potential for gross-out, but please don't go there)
Post by: Margo on March 04, 2013, 02:04:50 PM
'The Throne Room' is another...
Title: Re: Shh! Don't say "toilet"! (potential for gross-out, but please don't go there)
Post by: Tilt Fairy on March 04, 2013, 02:07:51 PM
In the UK, asking for the bathroom would make people wonder why you needed a bath.

The most usual word is probably "loo", whether at someone's home or in a restaurant, etc.  Using the word "toilet" isn't as common as it was. In public situations--  eg pubs, restaurants, shopping centres, halls -- you'd be most likely to ask "Where are the loos?" or possible "Where is the Ladies/Gents?" I don't think the words restroom or powder room are much in use.

I agree.

There is also "the little girls' room".

I disagree a littler. I agree that 'toilet' or 'loo' are the most common but asking for the bathroom is very common and readily understood. I think if you were visiting someone's home and wanted to go "May I use your bathroom" or "where's the loo, please" would be equally normal and equally well understood.

In shops/restaurants etc I think most people would ask for the ladies or gents, or for the toilets.

WC is readily understood but I think is less and less common, especially in speech  (you still see it on doors, sometimes)

Things like little girls/little boys room sound would be readily understood but come across as a bit twee.

I think most people would know what you were asking for is you said 'powder room' or 'rest room' but these terms aren't common terms - in the absence of evidence to the contrary I'd assume someone using those terms was a visiting American :-)

casual terminology include 'the bog' or 'the bogs' (or, most specifically, 'the [school] bog') 'the smallest room' or 'the khazi' (that last I think started as army slang - my grandfather, who served in WWII used to use it, and I think it's usually older people who would use that term)

(I'm a Brit in her 30s)



Yep. All of this. Whilst the majority would say toilet or loo, nobody would blink an eyelid if you said bathroom. I prefer to use bathroom myself but it's interchangeable with toilet and loo here which are both words a bog-standard (no pun intended!) British person would use without hesitation.

As Margo said, powder room, rest room and (perhaps) WC would all be understood perfectly what you meant but would be unusual and infrequent to hear and maybe slightly amusing. It would also most likely give you away as either being from overseas or very very upper class (and even then, I think toilet or at least definitely bathroom is still the most commonly used phrased by our poshest classes). I've heard that members of the Royal Family use the word toilet. It probably sounds very unrefined to those from other countries but it's what everyone uses! :) I guess it comes from the olden days when you used to wash or groom and this was called "to toilet".
Title: Re: Shh! Don't say "toilet"! (potential for gross-out, but please don't go there)
Post by: EllenS on March 04, 2013, 02:15:36 PM
Yes, I think the aversion in some parts of the US to the term "toilet" is due to the fact that over here it is used to designate the equipment, rather than the room. 

As a further point of regional interest, my mom used to sometimes refer to the equipment itself as "the commode" or, "the pot".  My paternal grandmother also used the word "commode". 
Title: Re: Shh! Don't say "toilet"! (potential for gross-out, but please don't go there)
Post by: Hmmmmm on March 04, 2013, 02:51:19 PM
Lived in California all my life.

In a business I'd as for the ladies room or restroom. In a home it's a bathroom. A water closet refers to a bathroom that has only a toilet and sink, usually in the most public part of the house, though I'd never ask for the "water closet" because not everyone has one. The toilet is the actual fixture you eliminate in.

 :D It has always been my understanding that is what a "powder room" is as well - just a toilet & sink, often near the living room or right off an entrance to the home.  And I tend to never use the phrase "powder room" for the same reason - most people I  know don't have one.

The only time I see or hear that term these days is either on a new home house plans or occasionally an older aunt will refer to the powder room. I do have a friend I can hear telling guests "the powder room is down the hall" so I think she uses it.
Title: Re: Shh! Don't say "toilet"! (potential for gross-out, but please don't go there)
Post by: Awestruck Shmuck on March 04, 2013, 03:37:11 PM
Born and raised in Sydney, Australia - of English parents.

Toilet, Torlet,'the ladies', Lav, Bog and Bathroom are the most common in my experience. Like other posters, I cringe when adults use the word potty - unless they are addressing a child under 5.

I tend to ask for 'the ladies' when out in public. In a private home I will ask for directions to the lav or the bathroom.
Title: Re: Shh! Don't say "toilet"! (potential for gross-out, but please don't go there)
Post by: Nikko-chan on March 04, 2013, 05:10:35 PM
I call it the bathroom, or when out in a restaurant, the ladies room. When I was a child all of the kids at school were taught to say lav (lavatory).

I am a 24 year old female in Ohio in the U.S.
Title: Re: Shh! Don't say "toilet"! (potential for gross-out, but please don't go there)
Post by: katycoo on March 04, 2013, 08:39:09 PM
Toilet, Torlet,'the ladies', Lav, Bog and Bathroom are the most common in my experience. Like other posters, I cringe when adults use the word potty - unless they are addressing a child under 5.

Fellow Aussie.

You know, lav, bog and dunny are all terms I'd clearly understand, but I couldn't tell you the last time I heard one used in a manner not entirely facetious.
Title: Re: Shh! Don't say "toilet"! (potential for gross-out, but please don't go there)
Post by: Outdoor Girl on March 04, 2013, 08:48:38 PM
Canadian, grew up small town, live in the city for the last 25 or so years.

In public, washroom or restroom.  At home, the 2 piece is the washroom, the 3 piece is the bathroom.  When I'm out at friends, it's the washroom, the can, the loo, the facilities.

A friend was working a receptionist type position.  If she left her desk, someone had to cover for her.  So she'd say to one of her coworkers, 'Can you watch the desk for a minute?  I've got to go check my hair.'  I liked that one so I started using it.
Title: Re: Shh! Don't say "toilet"! (potential for gross-out, but please don't go there)
Post by: Bluenomi on March 04, 2013, 08:55:37 PM
Toilet, Torlet,'the ladies', Lav, Bog and Bathroom are the most common in my experience. Like other posters, I cringe when adults use the word potty - unless they are addressing a child under 5.

Fellow Aussie.

You know, lav, bog and dunny are all terms I'd clearly understand, but I couldn't tell you the last time I heard one used in a manner not entirely facetious.

Another Aussie and I agree. Loo, toilet, bathroom are common though.
Title: Re: Shh! Don't say "toilet"! (potential for gross-out, but please don't go there)
Post by: Gwywnnydd on March 04, 2013, 09:03:30 PM
Yes, I think the aversion in some parts of the US to the term "toilet" is due to the fact that over here it is used to designate the equipment, rather than the room. 

One thing I noticed when I was in the UK (I was raised in Seattle, with regular visits to England) is that you are much more likely in the UK to find a room that just has a toilet in it. In the US we'd call it a quarter bath, but I've only ever encountered one house that had one.
When US-centric folks say 'the bathroom', it's usually because the tub and the toilet are in the same room.
Title: Re: Shh! Don't say "toilet"! (potential for gross-out, but please don't go there)
Post by: Tilt Fairy on March 04, 2013, 09:17:12 PM
Yes, I think the aversion in some parts of the US to the term "toilet" is due to the fact that over here it is used to designate the equipment, rather than the room. 

One thing I noticed when I was in the UK (I was raised in Seattle, with regular visits to England) is that you are much more likely in the UK to find a room that just has a toilet in it. In the US we'd call it a quarter bath, but I've only ever encountered one house that had one.
When US-centric folks say 'the bathroom', it's usually because the tub and the toilet are in the same room.

That's really interesting! I never knew that about US houses! You're right. In the UK pretty much the majority of houses would have a downstairs toliet with just the toilet and a small sink in and (very infrequently) a shower. It's normally just a very small room that one person can squeeze into. The upstairs main bathroom would be bigger and have the bath, shower in etc... Now that I think about it, I actually can't think of a house in the UK I've been in that if they had more than one bathroom, one of these wasn't a small downstairs solo toilet or a small secondary upstairs solo toilet. Being a Brit, if I use someones downstairs toilet, i'd normally not expect to see a bath or shower in there (unless it's a student or shared house or a very large house with lots of room and space)
Title: Re: Shh! Don't say "toilet"! (potential for gross-out, but please don't go there)
Post by: gmatoy on March 04, 2013, 09:20:30 PM
For family slang, my DH goes to the "Library." Because, in case it is not obvious, he reads in there.
Title: Re: Shh! Don't say "toilet"! (potential for gross-out, but please don't go there)
Post by: sammycat on March 04, 2013, 09:25:17 PM
Australia/New Zealand here.

Just about everyone I know, myself included, simply says 'the toilet' (or 'ladies/men toilets' if asking for directions in public), whether it be in public or a private home.  Occassionally 'loo', 'dunny' or 'bog' are used, but usually in a joking way.

Most buildings/homes here contain the toilet in a separate room to the shower/bath/vanity area, so asking to use the bathroom would be like asking to use the kitchen in a home when you actually mean the completely separate dining room.  If someone came to my home and asked to use the bathroom I'd wonder why on earth they wanted to have a shower or bath during their visit.

That said, our downstairs area has a very large room that contains a toilet, vanity and shower, so technically it is a 'bathroom',  but so far all visitors have just referred to it as 'the toilet', as that it was it's mainly used for.
Title: Re: Shh! Don't say "toilet"! (potential for gross-out, but please don't go there)
Post by: Thipu1 on March 05, 2013, 07:41:28 AM
Bathroom in a private home and rest room in a public space. 

Here, a room with just a toilet and a sink is usually called a half-bath.
Title: Re: Shh! Don't say "toilet"! (potential for gross-out, but please don't go there)
Post by: Hmmmmm on March 05, 2013, 09:45:09 AM
Yes, I think the aversion in some parts of the US to the term "toilet" is due to the fact that over here it is used to designate the equipment, rather than the room. 

One thing I noticed when I was in the UK (I was raised in Seattle, with regular visits to England) is that you are much more likely in the UK to find a room that just has a toilet in it. In the US we'd call it a quarter bath, but I've only ever encountered one house that had one.
When US-centric folks say 'the bathroom', it's usually because the tub and the toilet are in the same room.

That's really interesting! I never knew that about US houses! You're right. In the UK pretty much the majority of houses would have a downstairs toliet with just the toilet and a small sink in and (very infrequently) a shower. It's normally just a very small room that one person can squeeze into. The upstairs main bathroom would be bigger and have the bath, shower in etc... Now that I think about it, I actually can't think of a house in the UK I've been in that if they had more than one bathroom, one of these wasn't a small downstairs solo toilet or a small secondary upstairs solo toilet. Being a Brit, if I use someones downstairs toilet, i'd normally not expect to see a bath or shower in there (unless it's a student or shared house or a very large house with lots of room and space)

I think it my be regional in the US on whether a bathroom with a toilet and sink are uncommon could also depend on when the house was built.  Every house I've lived in my entire life  had one of these and it was referred to as a half bath or powder room.  I just ran a real estate search on homes for sale in my old zip code that has a huge variety of price points. The current prices range from $5.9 Mil USD to $155K USD and were built anytime between 1960 and currently being built. Of the 19 homes on the market in that area all of them have a half bath. My current zip code has 62 homes on the market, only 12 didn't have a half bath. 
Title: Re: Shh! Don't say "toilet"! (potential for gross-out, but please don't go there)
Post by: camlan on March 05, 2013, 11:03:25 AM
Yes, I think the aversion in some parts of the US to the term "toilet" is due to the fact that over here it is used to designate the equipment, rather than the room. 

One thing I noticed when I was in the UK (I was raised in Seattle, with regular visits to England) is that you are much more likely in the UK to find a room that just has a toilet in it. In the US we'd call it a quarter bath, but I've only ever encountered one house that had one.
When US-centric folks say 'the bathroom', it's usually because the tub and the toilet are in the same room.

That's really interesting! I never knew that about US houses! You're right. In the UK pretty much the majority of houses would have a downstairs toliet with just the toilet and a small sink in and (very infrequently) a shower. It's normally just a very small room that one person can squeeze into. The upstairs main bathroom would be bigger and have the bath, shower in etc... Now that I think about it, I actually can't think of a house in the UK I've been in that if they had more than one bathroom, one of these wasn't a small downstairs solo toilet or a small secondary upstairs solo toilet. Being a Brit, if I use someones downstairs toilet, i'd normally not expect to see a bath or shower in there (unless it's a student or shared house or a very large house with lots of room and space)

I think it my be regional in the US on whether a bathroom with a toilet and sink are uncommon could also depend on when the house was built.  Every house I've lived in my entire life  had one of these and it was referred to as a half bath or powder room.  I just ran a real estate search on homes for sale in my old zip code that has a huge variety of price points. The current prices range from $5.9 Mil USD to $155K USD and were built anytime between 1960 and currently being built. Of the 19 homes on the market in that area all of them have a half bath. My current zip code has 62 homes on the market, only 12 didn't have a half bath.

I think the age of the home has something to do with the presence or absence of a half bath. The older homes in my area--pre-1920 or thereabouts, tend not to have half baths. There are two exceptions--the really big homes that would have had wealthy owners have more bathrooms in general and might include a half bath as one of those bathrooms. And many homes have had bathrooms added over the years.

The typical working class home in my New England mill town would have had one bathroom when built. Nowadays, many of those homes have been remodeled to include at least an additional half bath, if not a second full bathroom.

But I've been in 1880s six bedroom Victorians that still have only one bathroom, with toilet, sink and tub/shower. And a tiny 1910 Cape Cod that has an unfinished room on the second floor that was clearly designed to be a second bathroom, as soon as the owners got the money/energy together to install it.
Title: Re: Shh! Don't say "toilet"! (potential for gross-out, but please don't go there)
Post by: padua on March 05, 2013, 05:31:48 PM
in austria i learned to call it the 'clo', which is short for water closet.
Title: Re: Shh! Don't say "toilet"! (potential for gross-out, but please don't go there)
Post by: Debbie506 on March 05, 2013, 06:12:24 PM
50+ Canadian here - pretty much rural, but have lived in the west, far north and east.   Casual use everywhere:  where is the John? 

I think it comes from "Johnny on the Spot" which was maybe a porta-potty outfit somewhere?  Just guessing.
Title: Re: Shh! Don't say "toilet"! (potential for gross-out, but please don't go there)
Post by: Tilt Fairy on March 05, 2013, 06:35:48 PM
Oh yeah. I forgot about "the John". I hear lots of people use that expression too.
Title: Re: Shh! Don't say "toilet"! (potential for gross-out, but please don't go there)
Post by: Giggity on March 05, 2013, 06:52:50 PM
What's gross about this?
Title: Re: Shh! Don't say "toilet"! (potential for gross-out, but please don't go there)
Post by: JonGirl on March 06, 2013, 05:14:18 AM
*wispers* We call it the Dunny   or even *gasp* the LOO   ;D

Most people just ask me where the Toilet is.


I say this, especially if in public or else it's the crapper!!  >:D
Title: Re: Shh! Don't say "toilet"! (potential for gross-out, but please don't go there)
Post by: Ereine on March 06, 2013, 06:11:27 AM
I think that I was taught to call it toilet in English (we did British English only) and that's what I've seen on most signs here in Finland, in places that need them in English too. We call it WC or vessa or veski (from the way we pronounce WC). There are words for rooms with baths (even though bath tubs are not that common) but I wouldn't use them when I was asking to use one, it would seem strange. There are obviously also many humorous words, many of which reference outhouses.

I stayed with my aunt and uncle for some time while they were living in the UK and their house had one bathroom with sink and toilet downstairs and upstairs there was a full bathroom and another room with just the toilet, no sink. It seemed a bit inconvenient if someone was using the bathroom and you had to wash your hands. My apartment when I was living as an exchange student in the Netherlands was similar, there was no sink with the toilet, but next door there were three sinks (I had become used to living on my own and it was a bit shock to share those three sinks, one toilet and two shower stalls, one of which didn't have a locking door with five other students, male and female. They were a lot less inhibited).   
Title: Re: Shh! Don't say "toilet"! (potential for gross-out, but please don't go there)
Post by: Katana_Geldar on March 06, 2013, 05:23:28 PM
Aussie here again, and it's just toilet. My parents even trained their Labrador to 'go toilet'. Abd he will ask to go out if he's inside.

I remember seeing the word 'restroom' when I as younger and thinking it meant what it said, a room for resting with a bed. I think it was in a game of Monopoly Jnr.
Title: Re: Shh! Don't say "toilet"! (potential for gross-out, but please don't go there)
Post by: baglady on March 06, 2013, 07:13:45 PM
50+ Canadian here - pretty much rural, but have lived in the west, far north and east.   Casual use everywhere:  where is the John? 

I think it comes from "Johnny on the Spot" which was maybe a porta-potty outfit somewhere?  Just guessing.

"John" as a term for toilet was around long before they invented portapotties, but I have to say that "Johnny on the Spot" is one of my favorite portapotty company names! One we see a lot where I live is "Big John's."

There's one theory that says the term "john" came from John Harrington, who invented an early flush toilet in the 1500s. But I'm not sure whether to believe that. It may be that "john" became the (no pun intended) go-to euphemism because it's such a common name -- same reason we call prostitutes' clients johns and unidentified males John Doe.

Anyone else old enough to remember when cologne was called "toilet water" ... and young enough to think that was funny as heck?
Title: Re: Shh! Don't say "toilet"! (potential for gross-out, but please don't go there)
Post by: Venus193 on March 06, 2013, 07:31:59 PM
It still is, but usually in French:  Eau de Toilette.  Translating that into English was not well-considered.

While this is not a perfect industry standard, there is a range of aromatic concentration described for each term (see Concentration):

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Perfume

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eau_de_toilette

Back to our regularly-scheduled discussion.
Title: Re: Shh! Don't say "toilet"! (potential for gross-out, but please don't go there)
Post by: oceanus on March 06, 2013, 07:49:45 PM
midwest USA/female/50+

I say restroom if I'm out/with someone
I might ask waiter "Where's your ladies' room?"
At home, my bathroom; someone else's home restroom
I don't think I've ever said "powder room"

Quote
Anyone else old enough to remember when cologne was called "toilet water" ...

Yes.   :D
Title: Re: Shh! Don't say "toilet"! (potential for gross-out, but please don't go there)
Post by: ladyknight1 on March 06, 2013, 08:31:10 PM
I say bathroom in a home, restroom when in public. However, I have no need for niceties when it comes to personal business, so toilet works just fine for me.
Title: Re: Shh! Don't say "toilet"! (potential for gross-out, but please don't go there)
Post by: Katana_Geldar on March 06, 2013, 09:55:13 PM
*wispers* We call it the Dunny   or even *gasp* the LOO   ;D

Most people just ask me where the Toilet is.


I say this, especially if in public or else it's the crapper!!  >:D

This guy has a rather appropriate name.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thomas_Crapper
Title: Re: Shh! Don't say "toilet"! (potential for gross-out, but please don't go there)
Post by: scotcat60 on March 17, 2013, 06:37:07 AM
In the UK pretty much the majority of houses would have a downstairs toliet with just the toilet and a small sink in and (very infrequently) a shower

Only houses over a certain age. When I was growing up, the downstairs toilet in many houses was outside in the garden, and you'd to come indoors to wash your hands. In some cases it was the only toilet on the property. And people bathed in front of the kitchen fire in a tin tub.
Title: Re: Shh! Don't say "toilet"! (potential for gross-out, but please don't go there)
Post by: Redsoil on March 17, 2013, 07:17:26 AM
Another Aussie - as with the others, usually toilet, loo, dunny etc.

At work, I'll refer patients to the toilet, bathroom or "facilities". 

When socialising, I may say "I'm off to the little girls room" or possibly "I'm going to scare some little boys" (but I think that one may be a bit of an in joke - if the ladies room has a line-up, I'm not beyond using the men's at a pinch - always warning them first: "female incoming, close your eyes!"  Yes, I know...  ;) )

When all's said and done, we're a pretty casual mob.

I always ask my dog if she needs to "have a leak" on a trip.  She knows when I say that, she has to make at least a show of doing so before we continue.  (Oh, and she actually cocks her leg like a boy. Like mother, like daughter!)  *snerk*
Title: Re: Shh! Don't say "toilet"! (potential for gross-out, but please don't go there)
Post by: NestHolder on March 17, 2013, 10:42:38 AM
It's worth noting that if you asked where the bathroom was in a UK home, you might find yourself in a room with a bath, a sink... and no loo.  It's not standard, but it's not at all unusual to have the toilet in its own little room next-door to the bathroom.

Now I think of it, my FIL's place in Tasmania has a bathroom with no loo—the loo is along the corridor!
Title: Re: Shh! Don't say "toilet"! (potential for gross-out, but please don't go there)
Post by: scotcat60 on March 18, 2013, 09:31:02 AM
The Marquis of Salisbury was on TV last night talking about how his ancestors built Hatfield House, and then others added onto it, but he said all he had done was improve the loo.
Title: Re: Shh! Don't say "toilet"! (potential for gross-out, but please don't go there)
Post by: Katana_Geldar on March 18, 2013, 04:20:56 PM
When I was growing up, I took the word 'restroom' literally as a place you would rest. Maybe with a bed or couch. I wasn't until years later I found out what it actually was.
Title: Re: Shh! Don't say "toilet"! (potential for gross-out, but please don't go there)
Post by: Bottlecaps on March 20, 2013, 06:48:10 PM
I'm 23, born and raised in West Virginia (US), and now living in Alabama (also the in the US).

It depends on where I am, actually. At home, I call it the toilet or the bathroom (along with various other slang terms - the throne, the john, the crapper, just to name a few, lol). In public/mixed company (by that, I mean asking where it is in a public place or a like situation), I call it the restroom.
Title: Re: Shh! Don't say "toilet"! (potential for gross-out, but please don't go there)
Post by: whiskeytangofoxtrot on May 02, 2013, 11:38:56 AM
"Restroom" or "ladies' room" for me, if it's pubic, "bathroom" if it's at a residence.  At a ren faire, it's "privy", and if it's my own home or among good friends, I'll often jokingly refer to it as "the catbox" or "the library".  ;D
Title: Re: Shh! Don't say "toilet"! (potential for gross-out, but please don't go there)
Post by: Yvaine on May 02, 2013, 11:44:52 AM
When I was growing up, I took the word 'restroom' literally as a place you would rest. Maybe with a bed or couch. I wasn't until years later I found out what it actually was.

I've even seen ones with couches in some luxury venues like fancy hotels and the symphony.  ;D
Title: Re: Shh! Don't say "toilet"! (potential for gross-out, but please don't go there)
Post by: MrTango on May 02, 2013, 12:25:37 PM
Most of the time, I just say "Men's Room."
Title: Re: Shh! Don't say "toilet"! (potential for gross-out, but please don't go there)
Post by: OSUJillyBean on May 09, 2013, 12:08:19 PM
Late 20s southern USA:

At someone's house - bathroom
Out in public - ladies' room / mens' room


Side note: at my mother's house, the "powder room" means the half bath that has no shower or bathtub in it.  But she's a former realtor so a little fancy shmanyc language is expected.  ;D
Title: Re: Shh! Don't say "toilet"! (potential for gross-out, but please don't go there)
Post by: Thipu1 on May 09, 2013, 01:57:31 PM
When I was growing up, I took the word 'restroom' literally as a place you would rest. Maybe with a bed or couch. I wasn't until years later I found out what it actually was.

I've even seen ones with couches in some luxury venues like fancy hotels and the symphony.  ;D

In the museum where I worked, the women's toilet had a quiet area with a sofa and comfortable armchairs.  The idea was that mothers could use the place to nurse infants.  That made it a real rest room. 
Title: Re: Shh! Don't say "toilet"! (potential for gross-out, but please don't go there)
Post by: Mad Goat Woman on May 12, 2013, 12:07:44 AM
Aussie here. I call it the loo, the toilet, or when in public, the ladies.
Title: Re: Shh! Don't say "toilet"! (potential for gross-out, but please don't go there)
Post by: Waterlight on May 13, 2013, 06:22:04 PM
Mid-40's, American, Pacific Northwest:

Out in public:  "Washroom" (FWIW, I was friends with someone from Canada for many years)  or "ladies' room"
In a private home:  "Bathroom"
Title: Re: Shh! Don't say "toilet"! (potential for gross-out, but please don't go there)
Post by: gmama on June 24, 2013, 06:45:59 AM
I grew up in the Philippines where we call the toilet either "kubeta" or "baño".  However, due to the long association with the US, most people use, in English, "comfort room" or most commonly "C.R" for short.  You could be in the deepest, most mountainous region, and people will still know what a CR is.

Quick anecdote: on a family trip to Japan, my 15 yr old cousin had to go really bad so I (9 at the time) and my 10 yr old brother went with her into a department store in search of the facilities. We asked a confused saleslady using every name we could think of, "washroom? watercloset? bathroom?".  In a moment of desperation my cousin even started mimicking toilet sounds.  I think we finally got somewhere when the saleslady brought out a pad and pen and we drew a toilet.   

We later asked our tour guide what we should have said.  Turns out the magic word would have been "toilet", which we three kids in our ignorance had never used. 

I live in Canada now and my friends and I also use the terms "wizzorium" and "crapeteria".

Another toilet story that makes me giggle is the one about the musician who, in reply to a critic's bad review, wrote back "I am sitting in the smallest room in my house.  I have your review before me.  Pretty soon it will be behind me."   >:D
Title: Re: Shh! Don't say "toilet"! (potential for gross-out, but please don't go there)
Post by: cabbageweevil on June 25, 2013, 02:47:11 AM
I grew up in the Philippines where we call the toilet either "kubeta" or "baño". 
If I’m right, there’s a town in the Philippines called Los Baños.  Plenty of scope for juvenile humour there...

Title: Re: Shh! Don't say "toilet"! (potential for gross-out, but please don't go there)
Post by: hyzenthlay on July 09, 2013, 10:23:54 PM
48 YO, Texas...in most cases I refer to it as restroom if asking to use it while a guest.  If an overnight guest is visiting, I will say I put clean towels out in the bathroom or I'll tell the kids they need to go clean their bathroom.

That is my usage as well. Mine is the bathroom, anyone else's, be it someone's home or a shopping center is a restroom. I'm a military brat so my speech isn't particularly regional.

Title: Re: Shh! Don't say "toilet"! (potential for gross-out, but please don't go there)
Post by: Wauden on August 27, 2013, 12:13:20 PM
I was taught to say 'lavatory' and never say 'toilet'.  :o When in a public place, it is the 'ladies' '.  With friends, it is the 'loo' or 'bog' or something like 'I am going to take a leak' or 'going for a wee' but it depends on the friend. 
Title: Re: Shh! Don't say "toilet"! (potential for gross-out, but please don't go there)
Post by: MissRose on November 13, 2013, 09:28:31 AM
When I've been in UK and Ireland, I generally ask where the Loo is or the Ladies Room is if it is not obvious to me as those are the terms my friends who live there tend to use.  In the states, I hear people use different terms like Ladies or Mens Room, bathroom, etc. but its rare to hear loo used here.
Title: Re: Shh! Don't say "toilet"! (potential for gross-out, but please don't go there)
Post by: Team HoundMom on November 13, 2013, 09:51:07 AM
I usually say "The Can" or "Le Pissoir." <-- my dad said that one once, apparently it's from an old Paul Newman movie.

If I'm in public I say "the ladies' room", or "the gents" if I'm referring to the men's room.  In someone's home I ask for "the bathroom."

I hear "the restroom" in the US most often and British people tend to say "the loo" or "the toilet".
Title: Re: Shh! Don't say "toilet"! (potential for gross-out, but please don't go there)
Post by: Pen^2 on November 13, 2013, 10:14:06 AM
I'm Australian. At home, I'll say "toilet" or "loo". When at a friend's house, or just generally in public, I'll say "the ladies'" or "lavatory".

I always try to be specific. Asking for a "bathroom" can be interpreted as wanting to wash one's hands, say. Although I'm aware that in America, "bathroom" is basically a synonym for "toilet", I've been in many homes in a number of countries where the actual toilet had its own, small room, separate from the bathroom proper. It's always good to be specific to avoid confusion. For example, I once asked where the nearest ladies' was, only to be told (in a confused way) that there were plenty of women around already--which one did I want to talk with?
Title: Re: Shh! Don't say "toilet"! (potential for gross-out, but please don't go there)
Post by: baglady on November 18, 2013, 08:23:04 PM
U.S. here. I say "bathroom" for the facility in a home (mine or someone else's -- "Where's the bathroom?"), "restroom" in a public place. They tend to be labeled "restrooms" -- the actual rooms will say "men" or "women" on the door, but there'll be a sign pointing to the "restrooms."

Some folks use "go to the bathroom" as a euphemism for the bodily function itself, which leads to such amusing (to my ears) usages as "The dog went to the bathroom on the living-room carpet."

When I was in Spain in the '70s, the term for public bathroom I encountered most often was "el servicio," but many of them were labeled with a big W (for water closet?).
Title: Re: Shh! Don't say "toilet"! (potential for gross-out, but please don't go there)
Post by: bridalviolet on February 12, 2014, 09:57:15 AM
American, Midwest, age 49. In a private home, mine or others', I'll say "bathroom" ("may I use your bathroom?") but in a public place I'll say "Where is your ladies' room?" In my mind, "toilet" is the object itself, not the whole room.
Title: Re: Shh! Don't say "toilet"! (potential for gross-out, but please don't go there)
Post by: bridalviolet on February 12, 2014, 10:24:15 AM
Also, this subject reminded me of a movie I saw years ago--don't remember which one--but a little boy said, "Daddy! I have to go to the euphemism!" Always cracked me up.
Title: Re: Shh! Don't say "toilet"! (potential for gross-out, but please don't go there)
Post by: Venus193 on February 12, 2014, 01:26:30 PM
Also, this subject reminded me of a movie I saw years ago--don't remember which one--but a little boy said, "Daddy! I have to go to the euphemism!" Always cracked me up.

I like that.
Title: Re: Shh! Don't say "toilet"! (potential for gross-out, but please don't go there)
Post by: VorFemme on February 12, 2014, 06:36:23 PM
I remember seeing a book where it was called the "necessary".
Title: Re: Shh! Don't say "toilet"! (potential for gross-out, but please don't go there)
Post by: Katana_Geldar on February 12, 2014, 06:37:43 PM
With our cats we call it " having a private moment".
Title: Re: Shh! Don't say "toilet"! (potential for gross-out, but please don't go there)
Post by: whatsanenigma on February 12, 2014, 06:51:11 PM
I remember seeing a book where it was called the "necessary".

Long John Silver's (A fast food fish restaurant) used to label their restrooms "Necessary Rooms".  I don't know if they still do or not.  I haven't been to one in a while.
Title: Re: Shh! Don't say "toilet"! (potential for gross-out, but please don't go there)
Post by: KB on February 12, 2014, 08:35:16 PM
"Oh, I know this one! If she were really posh, she'd say 'loo'!"