Might seem like a trick question at first, but I'm serious.

When the toilet is in one room by itself (let's call this the "restroom"), and the place with the sink, washing machine, shower room and bathtub, is another room... what do you call that other room?

This is a common layout in Japanese houses and apartments, but it's not easily described in English. Because in the West the toilet and bath are together and described as a "bathroom", leading to the term "bathroom" being used loosely to label any toilet room. Which would be fine, except in the case where their actually is a room for taking a bath and washing up, but it has no toilet. So what do you call it?

Oh, and I almost forgot to mention that "shower room" describes the specific enclosed space where one takes a shower, so we can't call this larger wash space a shower room. Furthermore, "washroom" is synonymous with "bathroom", so we're back to not having a name to describe a room for only bathing and washing hands (and sometimes laundry).

  • 2
    Which version of English are you talking about? Because BrE doesn't use "bathroom" to refer to a room containing a toilet, but a room containing a bath/shower, Britain has two words available for the two distinct rooms.
    – Andrew Leach
    Commented Nov 21, 2019 at 20:26
  • 1
    @AndrewLeach I live in Britain, and if somebody mentioned a bathroom, I'd automatically assume that it'd have a toilet. Just saying.
    – Lordology
    Commented Nov 21, 2019 at 20:34
  • @AndrewLeach Thank you for pointing that out. I mean primarily within the context of American English. But it's nice to know that at least in Britain it hasn't been mixed up (as much - thank you @Lordology). I'm not sure if it's due to architectural trends or what, but in the U.S. if you ask where the bathroom is you will almost certainly be led to the toilet. Although to be fair, the definition including a toilet is listed second in my dictionary.
    – Mentalist
    Commented Nov 21, 2019 at 20:36
  • 1
    France has a lot of bathrooms (bath/shower and/or bidet) without a toilet, which is often in a separate cabinet de toilette.
    – Lambie
    Commented Nov 21, 2019 at 20:52
  • 1
    Lynneguist discussed the difference between British and American terminology in this are at some length in 2007.
    – Colin Fine
    Commented Nov 21, 2019 at 22:54

1 Answer 1


Shower room. It was a thing in the fifties. Our house has one. Shower and sink. That’s it. A shower only in a room is called a shower stall.

  • Thank you! If you can cite a source, I will most likely accept this as the answer.
    – Mentalist
    Commented Jul 1, 2020 at 6:05

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.