ladies' room

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See also: ladies room



Originally in reference to any chamber or suite reserved for the use of women, whether public or private. Popularized by its use as a clipped form of ladies' waiting room in reference to gender-separated facilities at train stations etc. Its use in reference to lavatories replaced other euphemisms including cloak room,[1] lavatory room, toilet room, private room, etc.


ladies' room (plural ladies' rooms)

  1. A room belonging to some or all women, particularly:
    1. (historical) A waiting room in a railway station or other public building intended exclusively for women and usually including a separate women's lavatory.
      • 1856, Journals of the Legislative Assembly of the Province of Canada, Vol. 14, No. 1, p. 71:
        ...Passenger House, containing ticket office, baggage room, ladies' room, gentlemen's room, water closet, say 50 feet by 20 feet...
      • 1864 January 26, J.G. Lindsay, letter to P.P.L. O'Connel, §8:
        Arconum—I found two chairs wanting in the gentlemen's room, and the bath room attached applied to other purposes; the ladies' room was clean, and properly furnished, with the exception of two basins which were removed; the privies and urinaries clean...
      • 1875 January, John Scholfield, opinion of the Illinois Supreme Court in TW&W Ry Co v Williams:
        He had no lady with him, and his excuse for being in the ladies' room was, the gentlemen's room was too filthy. The little room into which he had gone was the ladies' water-closet... There were signs plainly printed on the doors, showing which rooms were for gentlemen and which for ladies and over the entrance to the little room, from which appellee was ejected, is printed the words: "Ladies' Private Room."
    2. (euphemistic) A public lavatory intended for use by women.



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  1. ^ "lady, n.", in the Oxford English Dictionary (2008), Oxford: Oxford University Press.