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From Middle French géographie, from Latin geōgraphia, from Ancient Greek γεωγραφία (geōgraphía, a description of the earth), from γῆ (, earth) + γράφω (gráphō, write).

Use in reference to lavatories derives from the mid-20th century euphemism "show one the geography of the house" in reference to pointing out the toilets.


  • (UK) IPA(key): /dʒɪˈɒɡɹəfi/, /ˈdʒɒɡɹəfi/
  • (US) IPA(key): /d͡ʒiˈɑɡɹəfi/
  • (file)
  • Hyphenation: ge‧og‧ra‧phy
  • Rhymes: -ɒɡɹəfi


geography (countable and uncountable, plural geographies)

  1. A description of the earth: a treatise or textbook on geography
    • 2021, Mark Steyn, “Our Increasingly Unrecognizable Civilization”, in Imprimis, volume 50, number 4/5, Hillsdale College, →ISSN, →OCLC, page 3:
      These days, instead of going off behind the bike shed during recess to learn about sex, kids need to sneak behind the bike shed to do a little bit of closeted geography or closeted Latin.
  2. (archaic) an atlas or gazetteer.
  3. The study of the physical properties of the earth, including how humans affect and are affected by them.
    Synonyms: see Thesaurus:geography
  4. Terrain: the physical properties of a region of the earth.
    • 1973, Helen Miller Bailey, Abraham Phineas Nasatir, Latin America: the development of its civilization:
      The geography of the Andes approaches never made transportation easy; routes to Bogota, Quito, La Paz, and Cuzco were so precipitous as to slow down the development of those Spanish cities in the interior.
  5. Any subject considered in terms of its physical distribution.
  6. (astronomy) Similar books, studies, or regions concerning other planets.
  7. The physical arrangement of any place, particularly (UK, slang) a house.
  8. (chiefly upper-class UK, euphemistic) The lavatory: a room used for urination and defecation.
    • 1967 December 21, The Listener, page 802:
      The Business Man Jocular: ‘I say, where's the geography, old son?’
  9. (figuratively) The relative arrangement of the parts of anything.
  10. (chiefly business and marketing) A territory: a geographical area as a field of business or market sector.


Derived terms[edit]


See also[edit]


  • Oxford English Dictionary. "geography, n."