Author Topic: Shh! Don't say "toilet"! (potential for gross-out, but please don't go there)  (Read 11460 times)

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Gwywnnydd

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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.

Tilt Fairy

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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)

gmatoy

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For family slang, my DH goes to the "Library." Because, in case it is not obvious, he reads in there.

sammycat

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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.

Thipu1

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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.

Hmmmmm

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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. 

camlan

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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.
Nothing is impossible, the word itself says, “I’m possible!” –Audrey Hepburn


padua

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in austria i learned to call it the 'clo', which is short for water closet.

Debbie506

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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.

Tilt Fairy

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Oh yeah. I forgot about "the John". I hear lots of people use that expression too.

Giggity

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What's gross about this?
Words mean things.

JonGirl

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*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
Stewart/Colbert '16

Ereine

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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).   

Katana_Geldar

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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.

baglady

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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?
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