[14] The notion of ‘washing’ was represented in prehistoric Indo-European by *lou-, which produced Greek loúein ‘wash’, English lather, and Latin lavāre ‘wash’. This last has been a fruitful source of English words, not all of them as obvious as lavatory, which originally meant simply ‘place or vessel for washing’ (its use for a ‘room containing a water closet’ appears to date from the 19th century). Among its relatives are deluge [14], latrine [17] (from a contraction of Latin lavātrīna), laundry, lava [18] (from Italian lava, which originally denoted a ‘stream caused by sudden rain’), lavish [15] (from the metaphorical notion of an ‘outpouring’), and lotion [14]. And from Latin luere, the form taken on by lavāre after prefixes, we get ablution [14] and dilute [16]. Lavender [15] looks as though it should belong to the same family, but no actual connection has ever been demonstrated. => ABLUTION, DELUGE, DILUTE, LATHER, LATRINE, LAUNDRY, LAVA, LAVISH, LOTION
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   The word originally applied to a bowl or basin for washing the hands in. Hence its origin in Late Latin lavatorium, from Latin lavare, 'to wash.'

The Hutchinson dictionary of word origins. 2013.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • lavatory — ● lavatory, lavatories ou lavatorys nom masculin (anglais lavatory) Vieux. Cabinet de toilette public avec water closets attenants. ⇒LAVATORY, subst. masc. Vieilli. Cabinet d aisance, généralement public, où se trouve un lavabo. Synon. toilettes …   Encyclopédie Universelle

  • Lavatory — Lav a*to*ry, n.; pl. {Lavatories}. [L. lavatorium: cf. lavatoire. See {Lave} to wash, and cf. {Laver}.] 1. A place for washing. [1913 Webster] 2. A basin or other vessel for washing in. [1913 Webster] 3. A wash or lotion for a diseased part.… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • Lavatory — Lav a*to*ry, a. Washing, or cleansing by washing. [1913 Webster] …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • lavatory — (n.) late 14c., washbasin, from L. lavatorium place for washing, noun use of neuter of adjective lavatorius pertaining to washing, from lavatus, pp. of lavare to wash (see LAVE (Cf. lave)). Sense of washroom is first attested 1650s; as a… …   Etymology dictionary

  • lavatory — the standard word in the early part of the 20c for a receptacle for urination and defecation (and the room containing it), has tended to give way to alternatives such as loo (the usual middle class word) and toilet (still non U but the word… …   Modern English usage

  • lavatory — [n] bathroom latrine, powder room, restroom, shower, toilet, washroom, water closet, WC; concept 448 …   New thesaurus

  • lavatory — ► NOUN (pl. lavatories) ▪ a toilet. ORIGIN Latin lavatorium place for washing , from lavare to wash …   English terms dictionary

  • lavatory — [lav′ə tôr΄ē] n. pl. lavatories [LL lavatorium < L lavare, to wash: see LAVE1] 1. Now Rare a bowl or basin, esp. one with faucets and drainage, for washing the face and hands; washbowl 2. a) a room equipped with a washbowl and flush toilet;… …   English World dictionary

  • lavatory — noun (esp. BrE) ADJECTIVE ▪ public (BrE) ▪ gents (BrE), ladies , men s ▪ outside ▪ flushing VER …   Collocations dictionary

  • lavatory — [[t]læ̱vətri, AM tɔːri[/t]] lavatories N COUNT A lavatory is the same as a toilet. [mainly BRIT] ...the ladies lavatory at the University of London. ...a public lavatory. Syn: toilet …   English dictionary

  • lavatory — UK [ˈlævətrɪ] / US [ˈlævəˌtɔrɪ] noun [countable] Word forms lavatory : singular lavatory plural lavatories 1) formal a toilet 2) mainly American a room with a toilet and a sink, especially on a plane …   English dictionary