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

Other Words from lavatory

lavatory adjective

Synonyms for lavatory


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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 Airbus designed an inflight Covid quarantine tent, while Japanese airline ANA introduced hands-free lavatory doors. Maureen O'hare, CNN, 31 Dec. 2021 The modernity of the housing stock was important: the O’Tooles had electricity, running water, and an indoor lavatory. James Wood, The New Yorker, 4 Apr. 2022 After 10 days of training, 11 of the calves were using the latrine about 77 percent of the time—demonstrating that cattle can indeed quickly learn to urinate in a lavatory. Nikk Ogasa, Scientific American, 13 Dec. 2021 Normally, the most dreaded part of a trip by bus is the lavatory. Kathryn Streeter, Condé Nast Traveler, 11 Nov. 2021 The agency alleges the passenger then went to the plane's lavatory to smoke cannabis. CNN, 23 Nov. 2021 Then, seven minutes later, the Georgia Power utility truck parked outside the home on Satilla Drive and a man walked into the lavatory. Asia Simone Burns, ajc, 9 Nov. 2021 Both Mint Studios and Suites are laid out in a 1 – 1 pattern, so no neighbors to clamber over on your way to the lavatory. Eric Rosen, Travel + Leisure, 20 July 2021 In the lavatory, dismembered mannequin parts bobbed in a bathtub. Brian P. Kelly, WSJ, 17 Aug. 2021 See More

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.

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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Time Traveler for lavatory

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

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Dictionary Entries Near lavatory



lavatory paper

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Statistics for lavatory

Last Updated

11 May 2022

Cite this Entry

“Lavatory.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 16 May. 2022.

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More Definitions for lavatory


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

More from Merriam-Webster on lavatory

Nglish: Translation of lavatory for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of lavatory for Arabic Speakers


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