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El baño - but the picture is toilets

The question is - Select translation of “the bathroom”

It's pretty obvious that the answer has to be el baño, because the other pictures are a group of women and a handful of banknotes, but the picture for "el baño" is a field full of portaloos!

So what's going on here? Does Spanish use the same word for bathroom and toilet? Does it use the same word for bathroom and "public convenience"? Does it use the same word for bathroom and portaloo?

I don't want to be asking for a bathroom to have a wash and being shown to a toilet instead, or even a field full of toilets...

August 26, 2017



Yes, "el baño" can mean "the bathroom", "the toilet" or "the bath". http://dictionary.reverso.net/spanish-english/el%20ba%C3%B1o
Technically, bathroom is "el cuarto de baño", but people tend to say "el baño". Bathtub can also be called "la bañera", "la tina" or "la bañadera".' http://dictionary.reverso.net/english-spanish/bathtub

You could also ask for a bathroom sink : un lavabo http://dictionary.reverso.net/english-spanish/sink

Most public restrooms have sinks too anyway though.

Then toilet: http://dictionary.reverso.net/english-spanish/toilet


Thank you for the explanation and the extra details!


The word bathroom is used euphemistically in the United States. Unlike in Europe and the UK, toilets and baths are usually in the same room in private homes. A room with just a toilet, sink, and no bathtub or shower is ironically called a half bath.

In public places, bathroom or restroom is used in the US for the room with toilets and sinks. In Canada, this would be washroom. In Spanish speaking countries, I've often seen "Sanitorios" or "Servicios" on signs, but others will understand if you ask where is the Baño. The actual word for toilet is inodoro, but you wouldn't ask for that when seeking the loo.


Thank you so much for all the detail and usage notes - this is very useful!

I suppose I was aware of the oddity with "bathroom" in the US, but when I'm working with Spanish and English I tend to assume that the English is, er, English, not American English. I think Duolingo is excellent, but I do sometimes feel that they don't understand that British English actually exists! It would be nice not to be forced to be learning two foreign languages at the same time.

(Surely "inodoro" would mean "not smelly"? Which seems an odd word for a toilet lol.)


Well compared to that which you seem to have seen depicted arrayed in a field (or their more direct predecessors)...


I guess it's not wrong to consider the word "bathroom" to be "used euphemistically," but this domain is so thoroughly riven with euphemism ("toilet," "lavatory," and "loo" also seem to be euphemistic origin and even plain "closet" has in the past carried such meaning) that I don't think there is any non-euphemistic word for this architectural feature anywhere in the English language, at which point I can't help but wonder if it's still a euphemism when there's no actual underlying word!

For the O.P., in roaming Latin America, I think their building styles generally more mirror the American than the European, toilet and bathtub in one room, or at least behind common door with toilet potentially behind a second, such that "baño" effectively covers everything you'd need as a visitor.


Thanks for commenting! I can only think that by the time there was even the concept of "an indoor place to do your stuff", those who could afford to be early adopters had fairly fine sensitivities. I agree, there doesn't seem to be a word for the facility that doesn't stem from euphemism, or at the very least a significant drift in meaning.

I have no idea whether it's actually the case that houses in Europe are more likely than those in the US to have toilet and bath in separate rooms, but here in the UK (yes, after all these years in the EU there is still a slight tendency to think of "Europe" as being "other", possibly because it's over the water), I can only say that this is the first house I have ever lived in that had two separate rooms. In my experience it's pretty rare in ordinary homes here.

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