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“Washroom”, “restroom”, “bathroom”, “lavatory”, “toilet” or “toilet room”

What is the British equivalent of the American 'washroom'? (Besides 'loo', of course, as it is informal.)

I've found two definitions, with both saying that they are of American English as opposed to British English.

  • Bathroom: N. Amer. a room containing a toilet: I have to go to the bathroom.
  • Washroom: N. Amer. a room with washing and toilet facilities.
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FWIW, for toilets in public establishments, "washroom" is more of a Canadian term; Americans would say "restroom." "Bathroom" is for private homes. –  choster Jan 30 '13 at 22:33
    
Is there a distinction in the US between a room with a toilet and one without (but with a sink and bath say)? In the UK, typically, all 'toilet' facilities (toilet, bath, shower and sink) are in the same room, which would be called the 'toilet' or the 'bathroom'. Here in NZ, we find it is common for the toilet to be in a room by itself, without a sink or basin (which we find to be unsanitary, since it requires you to touch at least two door handles before you can wash your hands!) –  Kyudos Jan 30 '13 at 23:31
    
@Kyudos: Everyone and his dog pitched in with answers and comments on the original dup I linked. And “Toilet”, “lavatory” or “loo” for polite society. The average seems to be that Canadians and Americans each accuse the other of calling even a urinal a bathroom (i.e. - each side believes the other doesn't know what a "bath" actually is! :). –  FumbleFingers Jan 30 '13 at 23:49
    
When I came to America, the teacher admonished me to get me to teach my kids not to use the word "toilet" in her classroom - because the polite term to use is "bathroom", even when such a toilet has no bathing or shower facilities. –  Blessed Geek Jan 31 '13 at 7:54
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As a Briton it makes no sense to me why in North America terms such as "wash room" and "bathroom" are used unless it contains a shower / bath.. We call it a loo or toilet, or if you want to be old "worldy" you could call it a "water closet". –  EM-Creations Jan 31 '13 at 13:17
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marked as duplicate by FumbleFingers, jwpat7, choster, Kristina Lopez, coleopterist Jan 31 '13 at 3:24

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3 Answers

The equivalent would be the word toilet. That is used generally. If the context means that someone is referring to a place that has more than one toilet, for example a school; the word to use would be toilets.

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Warning: Social Minefield!

Lavatory, loo and toilet will all be understood, which is in many cases the only real desideratum. However, which word to use (as well as proper employment of slang like bog and khazi, which though informal are far from entirely proletarian) will have a major impact on how you are perceived, and the etiquette is far too complex to summarize in less than a monograph. Frank Muir, in A Book at Bathtime, observed that where "Would you like to wash your hands?" is likely to be misunderstood, a well-brought-up host will ask "Would you like to...?" (minimal gesture) and wait for the answer. However long it takes.

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As an American, my guess would be water-closet, abbreviated as W.C.

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Not generally. That's rather old fashioned and rare. –  Tristan Jan 31 '13 at 0:17
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