Toilet vs Lavatory
The words toilet, lavatory, restroom, bathroom, powder room, and even loo are commonly used in all parts of the world to refer to a small room made in every home that is used for bodily elimination (urination and excretion). Though these words are not synonyms and all of them have a distinct meaning, we have come to use them as if they are same and use them interchangeably which is not correct. In this article we shall closely examine two words toilet and lavatory that are used to refer to a place or room where we relieve ourselves.
The word toilet was initially used for the fixtures that are installed in a small room used for elimination of human waste in a home, office, or a public place. These were the rooms where ladies also flowed away their menstrual waste and sick people disposed off their vomit. But in due course of time, the word toilet has come to refer more to the place or the room where these fittings are installed rather than fittings themselves. There used to be a time when toilets with these fixtures were separate from the room where people took a bath as toilet was supposedly dirtier in the eyes of the people but with passage of time, a toilet is also being used for the purpose of taking a bath and thus it is being referred to as a bathroom in a home rather than a toilet.
The word lavatory comes from a Greek word meaning ‘I wash’. It was lavatorium in earlier times which meant communal wash rooms, especially in monasteries where monks resided. In later period, the word was euphemistically used for a toilet which was considered improper and impolite, especially in America. In fact, in various airlines around the world, it is lavatory that is universally used in place of toilets these days.
Difference Between Toilet and Lavatory
• Toilet is a word that was initially reserved for plumbing fixtures and installations inside a room meant for relieving oneself (urination and excretion)
• However, with passage of time, the room itself meant for excretion came to be referred as a toilet
• Lavatory is a word that is used as a euphemism for toilet which is considered improper and impolite in some places.
• Today, lavatory is used more often than toilet, and in fact, in all airlines of the world, this is the word that is used to refer to washrooms.