bath and bathtub again

bitchubitchi

Member
French
A very well-read British friend of mine maintains that the word "bathtub" has become obsolete and that I should use "bath" instead. Can anyone confirm that?
 
  • Glasguensis

    Signal Modulation
    English - Scotland
    It's hard to be precise about words going out of fashion. Personally it wouldn't strike me as unusual to hear it being used, although I certainly agree that "bath" is more common. The parallel which comes to mind is "phone" replacing "telephone". It doesn't sound as archaic as "wireless set" (nowadays completely replaced by "radio"), but it's probably only older people who would use it.
     

    panjandrum

    Lapsed Moderator
    English-Ireland (top end)
    It is, generally, a bath.
    The small exception, in my experience, is the children's rhyme.
    Susy had a baby, she called him Tiny Tim.
    She put him in the bathtub, to see if he could swim.
    It might, in some contexts, be a tub rather than a bath.

    But to the point, it is generally a bath :)
     

    Packard

    Senior Member
    USA, English
    In any event "replacing the bath" would not be the same as "replacing the bathtub".

    If I were remodeling my home and I said that I was "replacing the bath", then the presumption is that I would replace the bathtub, the sink, the toilet, all the tiles and probably the lighting and medicine cabinet (plus a fresh coat of paint).

    On the other hand, if I were "replacing the bathtub", the presumption would be that I would replace the tub only.

    So, no matter what, "bathtub" cannot become obsolete.
     

    Loob

    Senior Member
    English UK
    In any event "replacing the bath" would not be the same as "replacing the bathtub".

    If I were remodeling my home and I said that I was "replacing the bath", then the presumption is that I would replace the bathtub, the sink, the toilet, all the tiles and probably the lighting and medicine cabinet (plus a fresh coat of paint).

    On the other hand, if I were "replacing the bathtub", the presumption would be that I would replace the tub only.

    So, no matter what, "bathtub" cannot become obsolete.
    That wouldn't be so in {my version of} BrE, MrP. If I said I was replacing the bath, I would just be replacing the thing I lie down and have a bath in:cool:.

    In the end, I suppose it depends on which variety of English bitchubitchi speaks. If it's BrE, then yes, I'd say s/he should follow the friend's advice and use "bath" rather than "bathtub".
     
    Last edited:

    JamesM

    Senior Member
    In any event "replacing the bath" would not be the same as "replacing the bathtub".

    If I were remodeling my home and I said that I was "replacing the bath", then the presumption is that I would replace the bathtub, the sink, the toilet, all the tiles and probably the lighting and medicine cabinet (plus a fresh coat of paint).

    On the other hand, if I were "replacing the bathtub", the presumption would be that I would replace the tub only.

    So, no matter what, "bathtub" cannot become obsolete.
    I agree. In fact, in the U.S. it is common to hear "it's a 3 bedroom, 2 bath home" where "bath" means "bathroom" (which may have a shower and no bathtub at all. :^) )
     

    panjandrum

    Lapsed Moderator
    English-Ireland (top end)
    I agree. In fact, in the U.S. it is common to hear "it's a 3 bedroom, 2 bath home" where "bath" means "bathroom" (which may have a shower and no bathtub at all. :^) )
    Yes, that's common here too, but if someone said they intended to replace their bath, it would never occur to me that this referred to anything more than the tub and perhaps the taps. Packard's version of "replacing the bath" would be a complete shock.
     

    Cagey

    post mod (English Only / Latin)
    English - US
    I thought so, too. After I puzzled over it for a while, I realized that the BE-speaking Oxford English Dictionary is saying that when we AE speakers say 'bathtub' we mean bath ~ or what the Oxford Dictionary would call a bath.
     
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    Packard

    Senior Member
    USA, English
    Yes, that's common here too, but if someone said they intended to replace their bath, it would never occur to me that this referred to anything more than the tub and perhaps the taps. Packard's version of "replacing the bath" would be a complete shock.
    In the U.S.A. we have homes with "half baths". That is it has a sink and a toilet only; no bathtub or shower. So you would have a house described as having "two and a half baths".
     

    cando

    Senior Member
    English - British
    I didn't know Americans used the word "bath" to refer to the whole "bathroom" or the "bathroom suite" inside it. Another potential source of confusion like a guest offering to help you with your "washing up" ;-)
     

    Thomas Tompion

    Senior Member
    English - England
    The ngrams are interesting here.

    Clearly bath is likely to occur more often than bathtub, because the word is used in wider contexts, but the ngrams suggest no decline in use of the bathtub. They also reflect the AE over BE preference for bathtub.

    Like Loob, I would replace a bath, but if I wished to refer to the shape of the bath, I might well start talking about the bathtub.
     

    PaulQ

    Banned
    UK
    English - England
    Here is a picture of a bathtub:


    They are quite common in wealthier American homes...





    :D
     

    Packard

    Senior Member
    USA, English
    Here is a picture of a bathtub:


    They are quite common in wealthier American homes...





    :D

    And bathtubs remain bathtubs even when re-purposed. Despite its new purpose I would still refer to this as a "bathtub".
     

    natkretep

    Moderato con anima (English Only)
    English (Singapore/UK), basic Chinese
    The ngrams are interesting here.

    Clearly bath is likely to occur more often than bathtub, because the word is used in wider contexts, but the ngrams suggest no decline in use of the bathtub. They also reflect the AE over BE preference for bathtub.

    Like Loob, I would replace a bath, but if I wished to refer to the shape of the bath, I might well start talking about the bathtub.
    That might capture too many things. If I put a phrase in that clearly refers to the object (sat in the bath, sat in the bathtub), BrE gives us only 'sat in the bath', and AmE seems to throw up both options.
     

    PaulQ

    Banned
    UK
    English - England
    Even that would be called a tin bath in BrE.
    I am old enough to remember tin baths/ bathtubs - my grandmother had one. If I remember correctly: "Tin bath" was used as a descriptor of the general item, but "bathtub" (often reduced to 'tub') was used in specific reference to the particular item, e.g. "There's a hole in the bathtub - how much are tin baths nowadays?"
     

    Delvo

    Senior Member
    American English
    In the U.S.A. we have homes with "half baths". That is it has a sink and a toilet only; no bathtub or shower. So you would have a house described as having "two and a half baths".
    I didn't know Americans used the word "bath" to refer to the whole "bathroom"
    We normally don't. It only shows up on one specific context: describing a house or apartment in comparison with others when talking about the real estate market and home prices. It apparently comes from the tendency to abbreviate to keep newspaper ads as short and compact as possible. Other than that, it's always a "bathroom".
     
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