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From Latin as if *lavatorius, from Late Latin lavator ‎(a clothes washer), from lavō ‎(wash); see lave.


  • (UK) IPA(key): /ˈlæv.ə.tri/, /ˈlæv.ə.təɹ.i/
  • (US) IPA(key): /ˈlæv.ə.tɔɹ.i/


lavatory ‎(plural lavatories)

  1. A bathroom; a washroom; a room containing a toilet.
    • 2003, Gauvin A. Bailey, Between Renaissance and Baroque: Jesuit Art in Rome, 1565-1610, University of Toronto Press, page 61,
      Even the lavatory, a vestibule to the refectory through which the novices would pass on their way to the recreation room, boasted a painting cycle.
    • 2003, Rob Rachowiecki, Danny Palmerlee, Ecuador and the Galápagos Islands, page 44,
      People needing to use the lavatory often ask to use the baño in a restaurant; toilet paper is rarely available, so the experienced traveler always carries a personal supply.
  2. A facility for washing hands; a basin.
    • 2005, Michael W. Litchfield, Renovation, page 325,
      Lavatories (bathroom sinks) are available in a blizzard of colors, materials, and styles.
    • 2010, Chris Peterson, Black & Decker: The Complete Guide to Bathrooms, Third Edition, page 162,
      If your lavatory doesn′t have a predrilled flange, the great advantage to the widespread configuration is that you gain flexibility in locating your spout and handles (probably a bigger advantage for tubs than for lavatories).
    • 2011, Sharon Koomen Harmon, Katherine E. Kennon, The Codes Guidebook for Interiors, page 288,
      Anywhere a water closet is used, a lavatory (ie, hand-washing sink) must also be installed.
  3. (Britain, New England) A toilet, a water closet.
    • 1997, Slavoj Žižek, The Plague of Fantasies, Verso, London, page 4,
      In a traditional German lavatory, the hole in which shit disappears after we flush water is way in front, so that the shit is first laid out for us to sniff at and inspect for traces of some illness; in the typical French lavatory, on the contrary, the hole is in the back - that is, the shit is supposed to disappear as soon as possible; finally, the Anglo-Saxon (English or American) lavatory presents a kind of synthesis, a mediation between these two opposed poles - the basin is full of water so that the shit floats in it - visible, but not to be inspected.

Related terms[edit]



lavatory ‎(not comparable)

  1. (dated) Washing, or cleansing by washing.

External links[edit]



From English


lavatory m ‎(plural lavatories)

  1. public convenience