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’
    • ‘When they are flushed down the toilet, they dissolve into microscopic particles.’
    • ‘I wanted to use a composting toilet, but county wastewater officials weren't receptive to the idea.’
    • ‘Unless hard digging provides real verified facts, the anonymous stuff should be flushed down the toilet.’
    • ‘You probably wash up your dirty dishes immediately after eating, and stick bleach down the toilet with every tenth flush.’
    • ‘Apparently Roly stopped taking his drugs, flushed them down the toilet, and begged Alex to help him get out of that place.’
    • ‘They should not be flushed down the toilet or sink.’
    • ‘In many states, using a composting toilet allows a property owner to install a smaller septic system.’
    • ‘Medicines should never be disposed of with other household waste, for safety reasons, or flushed down the toilet, for environmental reasons.’
    • ‘Seat covers have been available for decades, and it used correctly, most seat covers will flush down the toilet without the user touching them.’
    • ‘I think I almost fell asleep again because my brother got tired of waiting and flushed the downstairs toilet.’
    • ‘Professionalism and ethics are sometimes flushed down the toilet.’
    • ‘The small building also boasts composting toilets, grey water recycling, and the use of natural lighting.’
    • ‘Why have the toilet in the bathroom when you've got masses of space?’
    • ‘Toilets overflow, pipes leak and refuse piles up in the stairwells.’
    • ‘If we ever had any moral authority, it has been officially flushed down the toilet.’
    • ‘Most get flushed down the toilet, and eventually end up in the oceans.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘He said drain blockages often occurred when nappies, air fresheners and sanitary towels are flushed down the toilet.’
    lavatory, wc, water closet, facilities, urinal, privy, latrine, outhouse, earth closet, jakes
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    1. 1.1 A room, building, or cubicle containing a toilet or toilets:
      ‘a public toilet’
      [as modifier] ‘someone pushed at the toilet door’
      • ‘There are no science, cookery or woodwork rooms and no staff toilets.’
      • ‘Although work is on a public floor of the building, the toilets are locked, secured by carefully guarded keys.’
      • ‘In the toilets, the one cubicle with a working light had a broken lock.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘The toilets are upstairs, but there is a communal disabled toilet on our floor.’
      • ‘Both the breakfast room and the kitchen have recessed lighting, while a guest toilet completes the accommodation at this level.’
      • ‘Upstairs there are five bedrooms and a family bathroom, and a downstairs toilet completes the accommodation.’
      • ‘Fire broke out in the Carlton Street building's toilets after a match was dropped into a bin full of waste paper.’
      • ‘Toilets on the first floor are only available to those attending meetings.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Matthew later confronts Louise and locks her in the ladies' toilets.’
      • ‘The public toilets have been cleaned up and three chemical toilets have been placed in the park.’
      • ‘You'd toured the building, revisited the toilets, searched every office you'd been in during the day.’
      • ‘The guest bedroom is on the ground floor and is en suite and there is a separate downstairs toilet nearby.’
      • ‘It's about as subtle as not having women's toilets in the engineering building.’
      • ‘The accommodation at this level is completed by a small understairs guest toilet.’
      • ‘Today his firm, which puts poster ads in pub toilets, employs five people.’
      • ‘He said he was not inclined to provide a portable toilet which could be vulnerable to vandalism.’
      • ‘There is also an understairs guest toilet on the ground floor.’
  • 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’
      • ‘Clearly she will have some luggage (at least a change of clothes and toilet articles) with her, if no maid.’
      • ‘There was a camp canteen where the prisoners could buy cigarettes, toilet articles or canned food.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘When I had arranged these, with my hairbrush and other toilet articles on the dressing table, the place began to look quite homelike.’
      • ‘The chaplain's office became the receiving and distribution point for clothing and toilet articles.’
    2. 2.2 The cleansing of part of a person's body as a medical procedure.
      • ‘Respiratory toilet is encouraged hourly throughout the postoperative period with the aid of an incentive spirometer.’
      • ‘PDT treatments were applied to the left mainstem lesion along with debridement and bronchoscopic toilet.’
      • ‘The loss of ciliated epithelium emphasizes the need for hydration to improve the pulmonary toilet.’
      • ‘Peritoneal toilet functions as a surgical adjunct to controlling the initial, proximate source of peritoneal infection’


[WITH OBJECT]usually as noun toileting
  • 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.’
    • ‘I wouldn't mind toileting a patient if it needed to be done.’
    • ‘She wanted to teach him how to walk, talk, and toilet himself.’
    • ‘If asleep, the patient was not toileted or changed.’
    • ‘There is little dignity in being washed, fed, or swung up in a hoist to be toileted.’
    1. 1.1[no object] Use a toilet:
      ‘sufferers may need help with dressing, bathing, and toileting’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Bunk beds again, but private washing and toileting facilities offered more privacy.’
      • ‘When you complain about your dog's poor toileting habits, you are basically admitting that you have failed to train him adequately.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘At school [O] needs some reminding and encouragement with his dressing, toileting and eating skills.’
      • ‘Your loved one needs more and more help with everyday tasks such as eating, bathing and toileting.’
      • ‘Toileting problems were slightly more common in ferals.’
      • ‘It's become increasingly difficult in recent years to have a proper toileting experience, clean and hygienic, even if you find a toilet.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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’
      • ‘There's your last vestige of freedom going down the toilet.’
      • ‘Alas, the lead singer's attempts to persuade him to remove his shirt for the ladies went down the toilet.’
      • ‘They didn't want to see their investment go down the toilet.’
      • ‘It could easily all go down the toilet tomorrow.’
      • ‘Frankly, our judgment calls seem to be going down the toilet.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Year-on-year growth went down the toilet, dropping 24.4 per cent.’
      • ‘A lot of money going down the toilet, you could say.’
      • ‘They are not saying that your investments are gone 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).