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Webster 1913 Edition


Lavatory

Lav′a-to-ry

,
Adj.
Washing, or cleansing by washing.

Lav′a-to-ry

,
Noun.
;
pl.
Lavatories
(#)
.
[L.
lavatorium
: cf.
lavatoire
. See
Lave
to wash, and cf.
Laver
.]
1.
A place for washing.
2.
A basin or other vessel for washing in.
3.
A wash or lotion for a diseased part.
4.
A place where gold is obtained by washing.

Webster 1828 Edition


Lavatory

LAV'ATORY

,
Noun.
[See lave.]
1.
A place for washing.
2.
A wash or lotion for a diseased part.
3.
A place where gold is obtained by washing.

Definition 2021


lavatory

lavatory

English

Noun

lavatory (plural lavatories)

  1. A vessel or fixture for washing, particularly:
    1. A laver: a washbasin.
    2. (archaic) A bathtub.
    3. (Christianity) A piscina: the basin used for washing communion vessels.
    4. (Christianity) A lavabo: the basin used for washing one's hands before handling the eucharist.
    5. (Christianity, usually figuratively) A baptismal font: the basin used for baptism, used figuratively for the washing away of sins.
    6. A plumbing fixture used for washing: a sink.
      Their 'bathroom' included a toilet and a lavatory but no bath.
      • 2005, Michael W. Litchfield, Renovation, page 325:
        Lavatories (bathroom sinks) are available in a blizzard of colors, materials, and styles.
      • 2011, Sharon Koomen Harmon & al., The Codes Guidebook for Interiors, page 288
        Anywhere a water closet is used, a lavatory (ie, hand-washing sink) must also be installed.
  2. Handwashing, particularly
    1. (Christianity) The lavabo: the ritual washing of hands before handling the eucharist.
    2. (Christianity) The ritual washing of hands after using the piscina to clean the communion vessels.
  3. (obsolete) A liquid used in washing; a lotion; a wash; a rinse.
  4. (dated) A washroom: a room used for washing the face and hands.
    • 2003, Gauvin A. Bailey, Between Renaissance and Baroque: Jesuit Art in Rome, 1565-1610, 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.
  5. (euphemistic) A room containing a toilet: a bathroom (US) or WC (UK).
    Americans don't know 'WC' and Brits mock 'bathroom' but everyone usually understands 'toilet' or 'lavatory'.
    • 2003, Rob Rachowiecki & al., 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.
  6. (Britain, New England) A plumbing fixture for urination and defecation: a toilet.
    • 1997, Slavoj Žižek, The Plague of Fantasies, page 4,
      In a traditional German lavatory, the hole in which **** disappears after we flush water is way in front, so that the **** 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 **** 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 **** floats in it - visible, but not to be inspected.
  7. (dated) A place to wash clothes: a laundry.
  8. (obsolete) A place where gold is panned.
  9. (obsolete) A paved room in a mortuary where corpses are kept under a shower of disinfecting fluid.

Synonyms

  • (basin for washing hands): See washbasin
  • (fixture for washing hands): See sink
  • (room with a toilet): See Wikisaurus:bathroom
  • (toilet): See Wikisaurus:toilet

Derived terms

Related terms

Translations

Adjective

lavatory (not comparable)

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

References

  1. "lavatory, n." in the Oxford English Dictionary (1902), Oxford: Oxford University Press.
  • lavatory in Webster’s Revised Unabridged Dictionary, G. & C. Merriam, 1913
  • lavatory in The Century Dictionary, The Century Co., New York, 1911

French

Etymology

Borrowing from English lavatory.

Noun

lavatory m (plural lavatories)

  1. public convenience