Toilet or Bathroom
We moved into a three-bedroom house this Christmas. It's a lovely house, but I found that toilet and bathroom are separated, toilet downstairs, bathroom upstairs. The strangely designed toilet is really small, even without a hand-wash basin! So I have to wash my hands in the kitchen sink or go upstairs after using toilet.
One day we had a party, my friend asked me where is BATHROOM, I showed him the bathroom upstairs, he stood at the bathroom door and looks very surprised, then he started to laugh, and told me the BATHROOM that he was looking for is actually toilet.
We usually just say "toilet" - which I guess is STILL some kind of euphemism, because "attending to one's toilet" used to mean washing and putting on your make up (read a Victorian novel sometime), so it's actually cognate with "powder room", even though it now seems to only refer to the water closet (WC), and some perfumes are called "toilet water" to the hilarity of small children, and sometimes adults.
But nowadays, the word "toilet" itself seems need to be "euphemized". Some naughty children will put an "i" between "To Let" sign in front of a property. People started using bathroom to refer to toilet. But if there's no bathtub it can't be a bathroom, can it? Certainly, we can get our body washed by dipping a towel in water and bathe, or at least wash up with it. But how can a room be called BATHROOM without a bath in it?
Another reason that people use the word "bathroom" instead of "toilet", I think, is modern bathroom normally has flush toilet in it. Sometimes they are called half-baths (toilet + sink, aka vanity), as opposed to bath-and-a-half (toilet + sink + shower, as opposed to a bathtub).
The "euphemism chain" can be extended very long, It is said maiden aunts and vicars refer to the "bathroom" or the "washroom" by such quaint circumlocutions as "the smallest room" or some such.
Other washing-based name for the toilet is "lavatory" or "lavvy" or "lav", or water closet (WC). And yeah, loo is another name, does anybody know what is the origin of the word 'loo'? According askOxford.com, there are several theories about the origin of this word "loo". The most popular is that it is derived from the cry of 'gardyloo' (from the French regardez l'eau 'watch out for the water') which was shouted by medieval servants as they emptied the chamber-pots out of the upstairs windows into the street. But, this is historically problematic, since by the time the term 'loo' is recorded, the expression 'gardyloo' was long obsolete.
A second theory is that the word derives from a polite use of the French term le lieu ('the place') as a euphemism. Unfortunately, documentary evidence to support this idea is lacking.
A third theory, favoured by many, refers to the trade name 'Waterloo', which appeared prominently displayed on the iron cisterns in many British outhouses during the early 20th century. This is more credible in terms of dates, but corroborating evidence is still frustratingly hard to find.
Various other picturesque theories also circulate, involving references to doors numbered '00' or people called 'Looe'.
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