lav·​a·​to·​ry | \ ˈla-və-ˌtȯr-ē How to pronounce lavatory (audio) , British -və-t(ə-)rē\
plural lavatories

Definition of lavatory

1 : a vessel (such as a basin) for washing especially : a fixed bowl or basin with running water and drainpipe for washing
2 : a room with conveniences for washing and usually with one or more toilets the airplane's lavatory

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Other Words from lavatory

lavatory adjective

Synonyms for lavatory


bath, bathroom, bog [British], can, cloakroom [British], comfort station, convenience [chiefly British], head, john, latrine, loo [chiefly British], potty, restroom, toilet, washroom, water closet

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Examples of lavatory in a Sentence

a wide choice of lavatories on sale at plumbing supply stores the school's filthy, broken-down lavatories were a disgrace

Recent Examples on the Web

This of course includes remodeling dining facilities, lavatories and common areas. Letter Writers, Twin Cities, "Letters: FYI to new students: This state needs better accountants," 1 Sep. 2019 Past winners have included washrooms in casinos, colleges, theaters and wildlife refuges, but no Washington lavatory has won the competition before. Christine Clarridge, The Seattle Times, "A restroom in Washington state is a finalist in a ‘best public restroom’ contest; you just might have to leave here to see it," 9 Aug. 2019 But the rethinking of the passenger environment doesn’t just stop with the lavatory. Justin Bachman / Bloomberg, Time, "The Next Generation of Airbus Aircraft Will Track Your Bathroom Visits," 12 Sep. 2019 One thing that has become an issue for me is lavatory size., "Time is your best defense against airport congestion this summer," 23 June 2019 However, do give your cuticles a little touch-up before landing with this nifty manicure kit in the comfort of the lavatory. Rachel Tepper Paley, Condé Nast Traveler, "Everything You Need to Make Your Own Business-Class Worthy Dopp Kit," 20 June 2019 Some passengers even make shoeless trips to the lavatory. Wire Service, The Mercury News, "Video: Man using bare feet on inflight screen draws disgusted response," 18 July 2019 All cabins will feature Airbus' much vaunted AirSpace cabin improvements, which include larger overhead bins, new lighting options, and changes to the lavatories. Jeremy Dwyer-lindgren, USA TODAY, "TAP Portugal uses 'proving flights' to show off new Airbus A330neo," 24 June 2018 Use a hand towel to flush and open/close the lavatory door. Luzanne Otte, Town & Country, "Patricia Altschul's Very Specific Guide to Traveling in Style," 18 May 2019

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'lavatory.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of lavatory

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for lavatory

Middle English lavatorie, from Medieval Latin lavatorium, from Latin lavare to wash — more at lye

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Dictionary Entries near lavatory





lavatory paper



Statistics for lavatory

Last Updated

7 Oct 2019

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Time Traveler for lavatory

The first known use of lavatory was in the 14th century

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More Definitions for lavatory



English Language Learners Definition of lavatory

formal : a room with a toilet and sink
US, technical : a bathroom sink


lav·​a·​to·​ry | \ ˈla-və-ˌtȯr-ē How to pronounce lavatory (audio) \
plural lavatories

Kids Definition of lavatory

1 : a small sink (as in a bathroom)
2 : a room for washing that usually has a toilet

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More from Merriam-Webster on lavatory

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with lavatory

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for lavatory

Spanish Central: Translation of lavatory

Nglish: Translation of lavatory for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of lavatory for Arabic Speakers

Comments on lavatory

What made you want to look up lavatory? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


to fake an opponent out of position

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