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90s Slang You Should Know


[lav-uh-tawr-ee, -tohr-ee] /ˈlæv əˌtɔr i, -ˌtoʊr i/
noun, plural lavatories.
a room fitted with equipment for washing the hands and face and usually with flush toilet facilities.
a flush toilet; water closet.
a bowl or basin with running water for washing or bathing purposes; washbowl.
any place where washing is done.
Origin of lavatory
1325-75; Middle English lavatorie < Late Latin lavātōrium washing-place, equivalent to Latin lavā(re) to wash + -tōrium -tory2 Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2017.
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Examples from the Web for lavatory
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • They had stopped at the lavatory outside the walls, washed themselves and had purchased the white garments of the purified.

    The City of Delight Elizabeth Miller
  • The lavatory door had jammed, as doors will jam in earthquakes.

    The Dop Doctor Clotilde Inez Mary Graves
  • At this moment the sound of Dr. Bulling's voice, followed by loud laughter, came from the lavatory.

    The Doctor Ralph Connor
  • Conduct this gentleman to the lavatory, and assist him in making his ablutions.

    The Free Lances Mayne Reid
  • I pay the same money, but I cannot have a chair or a lavatory, and rarely a through car.

    Booker T. Washington Emmett J. Scott and Lyman Beecher Stowe
  • And to this hall there is attached a lavatory for the use of the men.

    France and the Republic William Henry Hurlbert
  • At the lavatory he caught sight of his own countenance in the glass.

    Sons and Fathers Harry Stillwell Edwards
  • It had a lavatory with a marble basin and a tap of cold water.

    Under the Redwoods Bret Harte
  • There was a difference in the air in the lavatory, and in the sound—the undifferentiated background sound which came from nowhere.

    In the Control Tower Will Mohler
British Dictionary definitions for lavatory


/ˈlævətərɪ; -trɪ/
noun (pl) -ries
Also called toilet, water closet, WC
  1. a sanitary installation for receiving and disposing of urine and faeces, consisting of a bowl fitted with a water-flushing device and connected to a drain
  2. a room containing such an installation
the washing place in a convent or monastic establishment
Word Origin
C14: from Late Latin lavātōrium, from Latin lavāre to wash
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for lavatory

late 14c., "washbasin," from Latin lavatorium "place for washing," noun use of neuter of adjective lavatorius "pertaining to washing," from lavatus, past participle of lavare "to wash" (see lave). Sense of "washroom" is first attested 1650s; as a euphemism for "toilet, W.C.," it is attested by 1864.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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