restroom/toilet/bathroom/loo

roniy

Senior Member
ISRAEL: Fluent Hebrew ( Speak Russian, Learning English)
How would you rather say in informal conversation ? restroom/toilet?

For example:

"Where is your restroom?"

"Where is your toilet?"

Which one is more common ??

And it's correct to say :
"Where is your bathroom ?"

When I need to use the toilet ?

Thanks.
 
  • SweetSoulSister

    Senior Member
    American English
    I would say either, "bathroom" or "restroom"

    In AE, they both mean the toilet. But most people do not say "toilet" in America. We say bathroom or restroom, even in informal situations.
     

    Victoria32

    Senior Member
    English (UK) New Zealand
    How would you rather say in informal conversation ? restroom/toilet?

    For example:

    "Where is your restroom?"

    "Where is your toilet?"

    Which one is more common ??

    And it's correct to say :
    "Where is your bathroom ?"

    When I need to use the toilet ?

    Thanks.
    I just ask "Could I use your loo?" but that's very BE and would not be understood where you are. We would not have said 'bathroom' or 'restroom' here a few years back, but that is being used here now, because NZ is using more and more AE these days.
     

    gaer

    Senior Member
    US-English
    I just ask "Could I use your loo?" but that's very BE and would not be understood where you are. We would not have said 'bathroom' or 'restroom' here a few years back, but that is being used here now, because NZ is using more and more AE these days.
    There is a definite difference between BE and AE here. JK Rowling refered to "the boys' toilet" in one of her books, and it was changed to "bathroom" in either the American edition (in which many words were changed) or in the movies.
     

    Victoria32

    Senior Member
    English (UK) New Zealand
    There is a definite difference between BE and AE here. JK Rowling refered to "the boys' toilet" in one of her books, and it was changed to "bathroom" in either the American edition (in which many words were changed) or in the movies.
    I noticed that in the movies! It seemed odd to me... but as we switch to AE (and have since the 1940s, I think...) I have got used to it...

    I had the to me, funny experience of being at an employment agency once last year, and asking the young receptionist (very softly) "Could you tell me where is the loo, please?" and asking "toilet" when she looked surprised (which she shouldn't really have been, she wasn't that young!) and then I saw "the penny drop"... and she said, far too loudly given the crowded waiting room "Oh! You mean the bathroom!"
    (I nearly said "Oh, no, I have alreday showered today, thank you.")

    (Thank you, SweetSoulSister... :D )
     

    gaer

    Senior Member
    US-English
    I noticed that in the movies! It seemed odd to me... but as we switch to AE (and have since the 1940s, I think...) I have got used to it...

    I had the to me, funny experience of being at an employment agency once last year, and asking the young receptionist (very softly) "Could you tell me where is the loo, please?" and asking "toilet" when she looked surprised (which she shouldn't really have been, she wasn't that young!) and then I saw "the penny drop"... and she said, far too loudly given the crowded waiting room "Oh! You mean the bathroom!"
    (I nearly said "Oh, no, I have alreday showered today, thank you.")

    (Thank you, SweetSoulSister... :D )
    There were also plenty of instances of "bloody hell" in the movies, NEVER used by Rowling in that way.

    The first book of the Potter series had many changes. It was feared that and American audience would have trouble with some BE words or phrases. In later books, when Rowling had more freedom, that became much less common.

    As for the person who made a big fuss about your use of "toilet", it seems to me that you had to deal with a rude idiot!
     

    Victoria32

    Senior Member
    English (UK) New Zealand
    There were also plenty of instances of "bloody hell" in the movies, NEVER used by Rowling in that way.

    The first book of the Potter series had many changes. It was feared that and American audience would have trouble with some BE words or phrases. In later books, when Rowling had more freedom, that became much less common.

    As for the person who made a big fuss about your use of "toilet", it seems to me that you had to deal with a rude idiot!
    She made a big deal out of it! That was the embarassing thing - correcting me to bathroom... Good grief!

    The most notable Potter book change was the name - Philosopher's Stone being changed to Sorcerer's..

    I am very surprised that the publishers assumed American kids wouldn't know what British ones would know!
     

    maxiogee

    Banned
    English
    I ask for the toilet, in a private house - or for the Gents in a commercial/public building.
    I don't need a rest and I don't want a bath - why should I seek rooms in which to do either? ;)
     

    clairanne

    Senior Member
    english UK
    Hi
    The Queen would say " lavatory" but us lesser mortals tend to say "loo" over here. It was however referred to as the "bog" when I was at school.
     

    Celador

    Senior Member
    English / Scotland
    Or 'bog', 'cludgie', 'pisser, 'shitter' is descending order of public acceptability.

    When Americans ask for the 'bathroom' in Britiain it is usually considered quite funny - a bathroom has a a bathtub in it. Why a restaurant guest, for example, would wish to take a bath halfway through a meal...
     

    LouisaB

    Senior Member
    English, UK
    Hi
    The Queen would say " lavatory" but us lesser mortals tend to say "loo" over here. It was however referred to as the "bog" when I was at school.
    I rather suspect the Queen would say 'loo' too. Lesser royalty certainly does.

    Royalty are not supposed to be ever put into a position where they have to ask for the loo/lavatory/restroom/bathroom at all. The correct procedure is for the equerry to ask them at discreet intervals 'Would Your Majesty/Highness/Grace etc like to retire?'. But on one wonderful occasion, when we were all trailing round after the Duke of Gloucester on a public school visit, the Duke finally snapped after being asked about 12 times in half an hour if he 'wished to retire', and told the equerry (within clear and ecstatic hearing of about eight of the teachers) 'When I want the bloody loo, I'll tell you'.

    We must ask LRV.
     

    Celador

    Senior Member
    English / Scotland
    Reminds me of the time the Pope said to the Queen, 'May piss be on you,' meaning peace, to which she replied, 'And may piss be on you too'... meaning urine.
     

    gaer

    Senior Member
    US-English
    The most notable Potter book change was the name - Philosopher's Stone being changed to Sorcerer's.
    Yes. That was before JKR got "clout". :)
    She made a big deal out of it! That was the embarassing thing - correcting me to bathroom... Good grief!
    The problem is that in the US we really don't have any other word to use. "Toilet" is considered impolite. To me this seems absurd, since that is what you are asking to use. :)

    Can you imagine asking a friend, "May I please use your bathroom?" and then taking a bath!

    "Restroom" is equally bizarre. There are some old-fashioned "facilities" that actually do have a couch, although not in the "room" itself, but it sounds as though it is someplace you would go for a nap.

    "Loo" seems to me like a nice compromise. I have seldom heard it in the US, but I think you would have to be incredibly isolated not to know what it means.

    I've always liked "WC"!

    Gaer
     

    johnny trampas

    Member
    english ireland
    For me 'toilet' is a bit graphic and i feel as if eyes will watch my every move(ment) and i become self-conscience. In society 'loo' is very acceptable. If i'm in a bar I'll ask for 'the jax' if the barman is young. If it's a buxsom lassy, i would refer to the 'Gents' and definitely leave the 'restroom' out of my vocabulary for it is not a rest that i am after. The cruder terms are unappealing!! They leave me quite flushed!!
     

    Victoria32

    Senior Member
    English (UK) New Zealand
    Hi
    The Queen would say " lavatory" but us lesser mortals tend to say "loo" over here. It was however referred to as the "bog" when I was at school.
    That was the term we used at home when we were kids - my Mum would put 'bog roll' or "**se fodder" on the shopping list. (Well, she didn't put the latter but I have been known to)
    Yes. That was before JKR got "clout". :)

    The problem is that in the US we really don't have any other word to use. "Toilet" is considered impolite. To me this seems absurd, since that is what you are asking to use. :)

    Can you imagine asking a friend, "May I please use your bathroom?" and then taking a bath!

    "Restroom" is equally bizarre. There are some old-fashioned "facilities" that actually do have a couch, although not in the "room" itself, but it sounds as though it is someplace you would go for a nap.

    "Loo" seems to me like a nice compromise. I have seldom heard it in the US, but I think you would have to be incredibly isolated not to know what it means.

    I've always liked "WC"!

    Gaer
    There is a story about Winston Churchill watching a ship being salvaged. The first thing to come up was the loo door with the initials WC on it. Churchill turned to someone and said "How thoughtful! The first thing they salvaged has my initials on it!" :D
     

    gaer

    Senior Member
    US-English
    There is a story about Winston Churchill watching a ship being salvaged. The first thing to come up was the loo door with the initials WC on it. Churchill turned to someone and said "How thoughtful! The first thing they salvaged has my initials on it!" :D
    That's priceless. :)

    Do you know if the word "Loo" is ever actually put on a door to a restroom/WC/loo/bathroom?
     

    Hockey13

    Senior Member
    AmEnglish/German
    In very colloquial, even childish perhaps, speech, "going to the bathroom" can also mean that you are in the process urinating or defecating in the toilet. I remember often having this conversation when I was young:

    My brother: What are you doing in there?!?!
    Me: I'm going to the bathroom!

    Obviously I was already in the bathroom, but I meant that I was on the toilet.
     

    gaer

    Senior Member
    US-English
    In very colloquial, even childish perhaps, speech, "going to the bathroom" can also mean that you are in the process urinating or defecating in the toilet. I remember often having this conversation when I was young:

    My brother: What are you doing in there?!?!
    Me: I'm going to the bathroom!

    Obviously I was already in the bathroom, but I meant that I was on the toilet.
    I might say the same thing today:

    - What are you doing in there?
    - For God's sake, I'm going to the bathroom. What else would I be doing in here?

    It's one of those things we say without thinking, but now that I think about out it, it seems absolutely ridiculous!
     

    LouisaB

    Senior Member
    English, UK
    If i'm in a bar I'll ask for 'the jax' if the barman is young.
    That's fascinating. Why only if the barman's young? This is the oldest word anyone's mentioned yet - the 'jakes' pre-dates Shakespeare, and I had no idea it had survived anywhere!
     

    Hockey13

    Senior Member
    AmEnglish/German
    I might say the same thing today:

    - What are you doing in there?
    - For God's sake, I'm going to the bathroom. What else would I be doing in here?

    It's one of those things we say without thinking, but now that I think about out it, it seems absolutely ridiculous!
    I still say it too, but to avoid the ire of the "I don't know...CAN you??" crowd, I try to use some other euphamism of taking a piss/crap.
     

    Victoria32

    Senior Member
    English (UK) New Zealand
    That's priceless. :)

    Do you know if the word "Loo" is ever actually put on a door to a restroom/WC/loo/bathroom?
    Usually now, we have silhouettes, for non-English speakers, I assume, though apparently pubs (I don't frequent them now) have 'cutesy' terms, Guys and Dolls, etc, which I believe is an old musical... :D

    I like Damen und Herren, or just - hey I like the idea of reviving 'jakes'! (Irrelevant aside, I once had a boyfriend nicknamed Jake by my mother, who was a nickname fanatic and would impose them on people. 'Jake' hated that name but Mum said his real name was too boring...)
     

    gaer

    Senior Member
    US-English
    Usually now, we have silhouettes, for non-English speakers, I assume, though apparently pubs (I don't frequent them now) have 'cutesy' terms, Guys and Dolls, etc, which I believe is an old musical... :D
    "Guys and Dolls" is a musical, yes. We also have symbols for men/boys and women/girls, but generally there is a sign saying "restrooms" that indicates where the separate rooms are located, especially in any large place (mall, airport, ect.)

    I think that "ladies" is often used. :)
     

    Victoria32

    Senior Member
    English (UK) New Zealand
    "Guys and Dolls" is a musical, yes. We also have symbols for men/boys and women/girls, but generally there is a sign saying "restrooms" that indicates where the separate rooms are located, especially in any large place (mall, airport, ect.)

    I think that "ladies" is often used. :)
    Which reminds me that my grandmother always said "The definition of agony is standing outside a toilet with a bent penny". That comes from th days when public 'conveniences' had a little slot on the door, and you had to insert a penny to get in - hence another euphemism... "I want to spend a penny"...

    VL :D
     

    mjscott

    Senior Member
    American English
    I still say it too, but to avoid the ire of the "I don't know...CAN you??" crowd, I try to use some other euphamism of taking a piss/crap.
    Speaking of CAN you--

    In a lot of WWII movies, the bathroom (no matter how ridiculous it sounds, that's what it's called--even if it doesn't have a bathtub in it) was called the can by military people.

    Where's the can?
    I need to use the can!

    In homes they are called bathrooms, in public places they are called restrooms in the Pacific NW. Also, as said before, if you are urinating or defecating, you are "going to the bathroom." I think the previous post that most Americans wouldn't know what a loo is, is pretty accurate. I like gaer's WC--water closet--though it is not often used, either.
     

    roxcyn

    Senior Member
    USA
    American English [AmE]
    Okay, these would be informal (maybe a little too informal):

    I need to take a leak, where's the john?
    I need to piss, where's the john?
     

    Victoria32

    Senior Member
    English (UK) New Zealand
    Okay, these would be informal (maybe a little too informal):

    I need to take a leak, where's the john?
    I need to piss, where's the john?
    Yes, very informal! (When visiting friends, yes, you can use them).

    I need to "take a slash/wet my boots/see a man about a dog" are ones men here use.
     

    Victoria32

    Senior Member
    English (UK) New Zealand
    in NZ we would say...

    "can i use your loo?"
    or... "where is your toliet?

    In nz restroom is very formal
    As I have said below, soakupthesun, it's also very new! (Restroom). I am ssuming you're quite young - maybe you don't remember that 10 years ago, here we didn't sday restroom/bathroom? :)
     

    gabbalannah

    New Member
    English, United States
    How would you rather say in informal conversation ? restroom/toilet?

    For example:

    "Where is your restroom?"

    "Where is your toilet?"

    Which one is more common ??

    And it's correct to say :
    "Where is your bathroom ?"

    When I need to use the toilet ?

    Thanks.
    The most commonly used term if you will would be where is your restroom, and ya it's correct to say where is your bathroom!
    lol Gab
     

    gandolfo

    Senior Member
    English-British
    Surprised no one's mentioned the "lav" "lavy*" short for lavatory then again I may have missed it :)


    *not sure on the spelling could be lavie any suggestions?

    Did anyone mention "little girl's room" or "little boy's room" as euphemisms for toilet?
     
    Last edited:

    Santanawinds

    Senior Member
    English - USA
    And it doesn't have to be in the bathroom.
    You will hear people say "Look daddy, that big dog is going to the bathroom on the front lawn".
    yes! I used to use that expression until I came to Europe and realized how strange that sounds. What about when people are hiking in the deep dark woods, far from any civilization, far from public restrooms/bathrooms/WCs - do they 'go to the bathroom' behind a tree? In AE I would say that, but here in Europe I'd think twice and decide upon "he relieved himself behind the tree" :)

    QUESTION ABOUT WC: can WC be used in the US, would people know what that is?
     

    JulianStuart

    Senior Member
    English (UK then US)
    Surprised no one's mentioned the "lav" "lavy*" short for lavatory then again I may have missed it :)
    *not sure on the spelling could be lavie any suggestions?
    See post #12.
    Note, however, that in the US if you ask for a lavatory, you may get directed to a "bowl or basin with running water for washing or bathing purposes; washbowl."
     

    Porteño

    Member Emeritus
    British English
    Usually now, we have silhouettes, for non-English speakers, I assume, though apparently pubs (I don't frequent them now) have 'cutesy' terms, Guys and Dolls, etc, which I believe is an old musical... :D
    The one I loved most was in a pub in Cornwall where the sign on the door reads "YER TEZ" which the a sort of phonetic interpretation of how the Cornish say "here it is"!:) People spend quite a lot of time trying to find where the loo is and finally figure it out when they get desperate!
     
    Last edited by a moderator:

    susanna76

    Senior Member
    Romanian
    Hi, I've looked at several threads, some of them closed now, but can't find the answer to my question. If there are two bathrooms and a smaller toilet, without a bathtub, in a house, what do you call that smaller toilet in AmE? Thank you!
     

    JulianStuart

    Senior Member
    English (UK then US)
    Good question! Does the room you are asking about also have a washbasin? I just asked my American wife about a room with only a toilet and no washbasin and she was stumped. That's probably because a room with only a toilet (i.e. the thing you sit on:D) is uncommon, at least in today's construction - they almost always have both. The room without a bath seems to be called a 1/2 bath, but only when describing the details of, for example, a house for sale. Such a room in a home would probably still be referred to as a "bathroom" in conversation. I'll also be interested to hear other AmE input on conversational names for 1) a room with only a toilet and 2) a room with both a toilet and washbasin but no shower or bathtub. The latter would be called a "restroom" if you were looking for it in, say, a restaurant. In a house, you'd probably ask for the "restroom" or "bathroom" but if you want to describe the room above, you may need to explain the concept in words.
     

    JustKate

    Senior Member
    I've never heard of a room with only a toilet. Houses with enormous bathrooms might have a sort of niche off the main part of the master bathroom that has the toilet in it, but it would still be part of the master bathroom.

    I would call a room with a toilet and sink either a "bathroom" (even though there's no bath) or a "half-bath," if I wanted to be precise. I think I've also heard such half-baths also called "vanity bathrooms" (with "vanity" referring to a mirror used for fixing one's hair and makeup), but not very often. I mean, a real estate agent might call it that, but I've never heard a regular, home-owning person use that term.
     

    ewie

    Senior Member
    English English
    (In British English a room with just a toilet in it [and they're pretty common here] is called ......... wait for it ........ a toilet.
    Back in the day in my family a room with a toilet and washbasin in was always given the rather charming name cloakroom:eek:)
     

    JustKate

    Senior Member
    In the US, toilet is almost exclusively used in reference to the thing you sit on rather than the room that thing is in.

    I love cloakroom. I've always wished it had made the voyage from the UK to the US, but alas, it did not (at least not as far as I know).
     

    susanna76

    Senior Member
    Romanian
    I've heard that about cloakroom but I think I'm missing something obvious here. What do cloaks, as in garments, have to do with it? Is it because you also use the (BrE) toilet to change your clothes? I'm thinking there aren't any hooks for clothes in such a half-bathroom, are there??
     

    JustKate

    Senior Member
    That is a thing I've never known for sure either - I'm hoping a BE speaker can enlighten us (the Online Etymology Dictionary doesn't offer a theory). I suppose that it dates back to the days when it was considered indelicate to refer to things such as toilets in polite company, but why cloaks were chosen instead of something else is a mystery to me.
     

    Wordsmyth

    Senior Member
    Native language: English (BrE)
    I'd say that ewie's family's use of "cloakroom" in the context of a normal private house is pretty rare (or perhaps it's 'NW Englandish' ;)). I believe the usage comes from the fact that in many public places such as theatres, restaurants, event venues, etc, the toilets are often situated in or next to the cloakroom. The logic would be the same as for the AmE "restroom" (even though, susanna, people don't usually sit on the toilet to take a rest!:D).

    Ws:)
     
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