Definition of toilet in English:



  • 1A fixed receptacle into which a person may urinate or defecate, typically consisting of a large bowl connected to a system for flushing away the waste into a sewer.

    ‘Liz heard the toilet flush’
    ‘he got up to go to the toilet’
    [as modifier] ‘a toilet seat’
    • ‘Why have the toilet in the bathroom when you've got masses of space?’
    • ‘He said drain blockages often occurred when nappies, air fresheners and sanitary towels are flushed down the toilet.’
    • ‘If we ever had any moral authority, it has been officially flushed down the toilet.’
    • ‘Professionalism and ethics are sometimes flushed down the toilet.’
    • ‘You probably wash up your dirty dishes immediately after eating, and stick bleach down the toilet with every tenth flush.’
    • ‘They should not be flushed down the toilet or sink.’
    • ‘Unless hard digging provides real verified facts, the anonymous stuff should be flushed down the toilet.’
    • ‘In many states, using a composting toilet allows a property owner to install a smaller septic system.’
    • ‘I think I almost fell asleep again because my brother got tired of waiting and flushed the downstairs toilet.’
    • ‘Most get flushed down the toilet, and eventually end up in the oceans.’
    • ‘I wanted to use a composting toilet, but county wastewater officials weren't receptive to the idea.’
    • ‘When they are flushed down the toilet, they dissolve into microscopic particles.’
    • ‘Apparently Roly stopped taking his drugs, flushed them down the toilet, and begged Alex to help him get out of that place.’
    • ‘A third of all household water is flushed down the toilet, so control the amount of water you use by putting a plastic bottle or ‘hippo’ in your cistern.’
    • ‘The small building also boasts composting toilets, grey water recycling, and the use of natural lighting.’
    • ‘I compost all these and have a compost toilet.’
    • ‘He had the dimensions of the room, the door, even the toilet, all memorized in his head.’
    • ‘Seat covers have been available for decades, and it used correctly, most seat covers will flush down the toilet without the user touching them.’
    • ‘Toilets overflow, pipes leak and refuse piles up in the stairwells.’
    • ‘Medicines should never be disposed of with other household waste, for safety reasons, or flushed down the toilet, for environmental reasons.’
    lavatory, wc, water closet, facilities, urinal, privy, latrine, outhouse, earth closet, jakes
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    1. 1.1A room, building, or cubicle containing a toilet or toilets.
      ‘a public toilet’
      [as modifier] ‘someone pushed at the toilet door’
      • ‘The toilets are upstairs, but there is a communal disabled toilet on our floor.’
      • ‘Although work is on a public floor of the building, the toilets are locked, secured by carefully guarded keys.’
      • ‘It's about as subtle as not having women's toilets in the engineering building.’
      • ‘He said he was not inclined to provide a portable toilet which could be vulnerable to vandalism.’
      • ‘You'd toured the building, revisited the toilets, searched every office you'd been in during the day.’
      • ‘In the toilets, the one cubicle with a working light had a broken lock.’
      • ‘Fire broke out in the Carlton Street building's toilets after a match was dropped into a bin full of waste paper.’
      • ‘There is also an understairs guest toilet on the ground floor.’
      • ‘Matthew later confronts Louise and locks her in the ladies' toilets.’
      • ‘Today his firm, which puts poster ads in pub toilets, employs five people.’
      • ‘The guest bedroom is on the ground floor and is en suite and there is a separate downstairs toilet nearby.’
      • ‘Marketing is described as weak and many buildings lacked public toilets, baby changing facilities and refreshment areas.’
      • ‘If councillors agree, the structure - including a toilet and changing rooms - will be built next to the organisation's bowling green.’
      • ‘Both the breakfast room and the kitchen have recessed lighting, while a guest toilet completes the accommodation at this level.’
      • ‘Milnthorpe bus users may have to endure more hanging about in the rain as the town's parish council raided funds earmarked for building bus shelters to save a public toilet.’
      • ‘There are no science, cookery or woodwork rooms and no staff toilets.’
      • ‘The accommodation at this level is completed by a small understairs guest toilet.’
      • ‘The public toilets have been cleaned up and three chemical toilets have been placed in the park.’
      • ‘Upstairs there are five bedrooms and a family bathroom, and a downstairs toilet completes the accommodation.’
      • ‘Toilets on the first floor are only available to those attending meetings.’
  • 2[in singular] The process of washing oneself, dressing, and attending to one's appearance.

    ‘her toilet completed, she finally went back downstairs’
    • ‘She quickly changed into an older dress and completed a brief toilet.’
    washing, bathing, showering
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    1. 2.1[as modifier]Denoting articles used in the process of washing, dressing, and attending to one's appearance.
      ‘a bathroom cabinet stocked with toilet articles’
      • ‘The chaplain's office became the receiving and distribution point for clothing and toilet articles.’
      • ‘The general stock consists of patent medicines of all kinds, proprietary goods, toilet requisites, perfumes, smelling and perfume bottles, and a host of other useful articles.’
      • ‘There was a camp canteen where the prisoners could buy cigarettes, toilet articles or canned food.’
      • ‘Clearly she will have some luggage (at least a change of clothes and toilet articles) with her, if no maid.’
      • ‘When I had arranged these, with my hairbrush and other toilet articles on the dressing table, the place began to look quite homelike.’
    2. 2.2The cleansing of part of a person's body as a medical procedure.
      • ‘Peritoneal toilet functions as a surgical adjunct to controlling the initial, proximate source of peritoneal infection’
      • ‘Respiratory toilet is encouraged hourly throughout the postoperative period with the aid of an incentive spirometer.’
      • ‘The loss of ciliated epithelium emphasizes the need for hydration to improve the pulmonary toilet.’
      • ‘PDT treatments were applied to the left mainstem lesion along with debridement and bronchoscopic toilet.’


  • 1 Assist or supervise (someone, especially an infant or invalid) in using a toilet.

    • ‘She can't toilet herself - she's timed rather than trained.’
    • ‘If asleep, the patient was not toileted or changed.’
    • ‘I wouldn't mind toileting a patient if it needed to be done.’
    • ‘There is little dignity in being washed, fed, or swung up in a hoist to be toileted.’
    • ‘She wanted to teach him how to walk, talk, and toilet himself.’
    1. 1.1[no object]Use a toilet.
      ‘sufferers may need help with dressing, bathing, and toileting’
      • ‘Your loved one needs more and more help with everyday tasks such as eating, bathing and toileting.’
      • ‘Bunk beds again, but private washing and toileting facilities offered more privacy.’
      • ‘I worked on the general medical unit, where about half of 17 men and women were bed-ridden and all but a few needed help with getting in and out of bed, bathing, dressing and toileting.’
      • ‘At school [O] needs some reminding and encouragement with his dressing, toileting and eating skills.’
      • ‘It's become increasingly difficult in recent years to have a proper toileting experience, clean and hygienic, even if you find a toilet.’
      • ‘When this happens the patient will need to re-learn toileting skills, bearing in mind also that there are a number of other reasons why these skills may need to be re-learned.’
      • ‘They may get lost in their own homes, need help dressing, bathing, and toileting, and fail to remember major parts of their past or understand simple gestures and commands.’
      • ‘When you complain about your dog's poor toileting habits, you are basically admitting that you have failed to train him adequately.’
      • ‘Having been trained by the Kennedy's dog trainers, the black and white puppy reportedly made no toileting errors and did not gnaw on the furniture.’
      • ‘Toileting problems were slightly more common in ferals.’
      • ‘When we reprimand a dog for toileting indoors we think we are teaching him not to go indoors, but to go in the garden.’


  • go down the toilet

    • informal Be completely lost or wasted; fail utterly.

      ‘they didn't want to see their investment go down the toilet’
      • ‘Alas, the lead singer's attempts to persuade him to remove his shirt for the ladies went down the toilet.’
      • ‘They are not saying that your investments are gone down the toilet.’
      • ‘Frankly, our judgment calls seem to be going down the toilet.’
      • ‘A lot of money going down the toilet, you could say.’
      • ‘Year-on-year growth went down the toilet, dropping 24.4 per cent.’
      • ‘It could easily all go down the toilet tomorrow.’
      • ‘His sweetheart spent the rest of the night retching into the loo and the relationship went down the toilet, too.’
      • ‘I was involved in a technical support problem that's clearly going to go down the toilet.’
      • ‘They didn't want to see their investment go down the toilet.’
      • ‘There's your last vestige of freedom going down the toilet.’


Mid 16th century: from French toilette cloth, wrapper, diminutive of toile (see toile). The word originally denoted a cloth used as a wrapper for clothes; then (in the 17th century) a cloth cover for a dressing table, the articles used in dressing, and the process of dressing, later also of washing oneself ( toilet). In the 19th century the word came to denote a dressing room, and, in the US, one with washing facilities; hence, a lavatory (early 20th century).