How many of these words do you know for the 'smallest room in the house'? These are some of the less offensive terms which can be found in slang English!!
lav / lavvy: shortened form of lavatory. "Just going to the lavvy luvvy!"
loo: from the French bordalou, a ladies portable toilet that looked a bit like a gravy-boat and was carried inside a muff (a big, fury, double-glove for keeping the hands warm).
karsy: from the Italian casa (house). Don't say this in front of your English host-family.
thunder-box: British Indian army term. Self explanatory.
colfabias: this is actually fake Latin. Used by students at Trinity College, University of Dublin.
fourth: used at Trinity College, University of Cambridge. In the 19th century the college lavatories were in the 4th court, so "gone 4" or "taking a fourth" meant going to the toilet.
Jerry: Jericho was (still is, actually) the rough area of Oxford. So "going for a Jerry" became a slang expression for urinating.
forakers: from the Latin forica meaning privy.
little boy's room: euphemism for the chaps' loo.
little girl's room: euphemism for the ladies' loo.
po: from the French pot de chambre (chamber-pot), kept under the bed for night-soil.
throne room: obvious euphemism.
the bogs: British schoolboy term for toilet.
"going up the end of the garden": a reference to when British homes had outside lavatories, usually at the end of the garden.
on the pan: to be sitting on the lavatory.
to take a leak: used in the United States mainly, to urinate.
to wizz: to urinate.
However, if you want to be really polite just say:
"Excuse me, can you tell me where the facilities are?"
We thank Francis Dixon-Clarke (from Sao Paulo, Brazil) for his contribution.
Descubre el origen de las palabras en The Story behind the Words
Longman Dictionary of Contemporary English
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