Why are public toilets referred to as restrooms?




Toilet as Restrooms

We’ve come to understand that toilets have several names like gents, ladies, bathroom, convenience, latrine, W.C, potty, chamber of commerce, little boy’s room, little girl’s room, comfort station and restroom. In this blog, we are most interested in the name restroom. Have you ever referred to a toilet as a restroom? I guess we’ve all asked for directions to a restroom in a public location such as shopping malls, train station or during events like weddings, music festivals or marathon.

A restroom is both used for portable  and non-portable toilets. Most people in English speaking countries understand restroom to be toilet facilities. Private toilets at home and office locations can also be referred to as restroom. You can easily ask a friend for their restroom during a visit and they should easily understand your request. 

Why the name restroom?

You’ll agree on a toilet in most cases is not a place for rest. Would you prefer resting in a toilet or a bedroom? The bedroom is a better place to rest than a toilet. Even in an era of luxury, fanciful and well-scented toilet facilities, viewing them as a restroom is a stretch too far for most. Rest involves physical and mental rejuvenation. As humans, we tend to associate rest with sleep or a popcorn filled moment, as we catch up on our favourite Netflix TV series.

The euphemism of restroom in the English language 

A restroom is used as a figurative expression. The figure of speech known as euphemism tends to make blunt or unpleasant objects appear pleasant or more appealing. It is more attractive to refer to a toilet as restrooms due to the indirect nature of the statement. It is quite different from the French who conceive and refer to toilet in a more direct and literal way than their English speaking counterparts. The French refer to the toilet as Pissoir, which means a place to piss. If we were to take the path of the French and be more direct in our reference to the toilet, we might end up with words like ‘Shithouse’, ‘Pisshouse’ or some less decorative term.

Viewing toilets as restroom make them more refreshing and rejuvenating. It indicates our desire to empty our bowel in comfort. The toilet time is a private moment and in the case of some folks, it could be a time for meditation.

Common rest activities and places 

We recover strength by resting and on a top level, the toilet is not known to be a place for relaxation. 

Here are common ways we rest:

1) Sleep: One of the most popular ways of resting is via sleeping. Sleeping is known to keep our heart and blood vessels healthy. A decent amount of sleep is good for us to function at our maximum capacity.

2) Massage: During a massage session, the specialist is expected to apply light or strong pressure to your joints and muscles to relieve pain and ease tension. There are different types of massage like Hot stone massage, Swedish massage, aromatherapy massage, deep tissue massage and a few others. The massage you choose depends on your level of sensitivity, degree of tension and experience of being massaged.

Other popular ways of relaxing include ice bath, warm bath, exercise, meditation and refraining from the use of technological devices. All these are ways to rest our body and mind. If the rooms where any of these activities are taking place is caĺled a ‘restroom’, that’s quite understandable, right? A toilet also produces rest from discomfort.

Remember how relieved you felt after getting rid of your stomach rumble and gas by having a poop. There is certain relief and comfort that is achieved after we’ve either had a pressing pee or poop. There is definitely logic in referring to toilets as restrooms.

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