What do you call your toilet?
At Toilets+, we spend plenty of time around toilets, which ultimately got us thinking… Why are there so many different ways to say toilet? We’ve done some digging into all the many different ways that we refer to the humble toilet, and where exactly the different terms and names may have come from. The bog, loo and W/C just to name a few. We’ve selected our favourites for us to explore below. Let’s dive right in.
First things first, where does the word toilet come from? The word toilet is actually derived from the French word “toilette”, which directly translates to “dressing room” – a little more glamorous than today’s meaning. However, from the word Toilette, you can actually take the word ‘toile’, which translates to ‘cloth’ – a quick French lesson for you! In this context, a cloth would often be draped over someone as they’re being groomed, so…to cut a long story short, the word cloth soon became associated with the act of getting ready, and eventually, the physical act of going to the toilet.
One of the most commonly known and albeit, cruder terms has to be the “bog”. To simply put it, the term “bog” comes from quite a literal sense back in 1789 from the ‘boghouse’, which is British slang meaning to defecate. We warned you it was literal!
Whilst we’re talking about the more literal terms for toilet, it may come as a surprise, but the loo does indeed make it on the list. Despite its British popularity for a slightly less crude way to call the toilet, the word “loo” is actually derived from the French phrase ‘guardez l’eau’, meaning ‘watch out for the water”. You may have already started using your imagination to fill out the rest, but the phrase was used by mediaeval Europe who would shout the phrase as a warning to pedestrians on the street below before emptying their chamber pots out of their bedroom windows – How delightful.
With a slightly less literal meaning, the term “Restroom” gained popularity in early twentieth century America, where the Restroom was a space to “have a rest” and “refresh”. A much more modest and simple approach compared to the above terms.
Despite its popularity in American English, the term “W/C” actually arose in 1870s England, short for “Wash-down closet”, which evolved to “water closet” and eventually, the term we recognise today as “W/C”.
It may come as a surprise, but the phrase dunny actually derives from British dialect, and more specifically, Scottish origin, despite its popularity down under. To simplify things, the original word “dunnekin” was used to refer to an outside toilet, and from that, the term “dunny” has evolved and migrated to down under as a popular choice to describe the toilet.
Toilets, unsurprisingly, are a part of everyone’s day to day life, no matter where you are in the world, so it comes as no surprise that we have so many different ways to refer to the toilet. Whether you call it a loo, bog or even a crapper, we have your portable toilet needs covered.
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