Everyone knows at least 3 words to use in place of “toilet”. Whether they’re terms polite enough to say at the dining table, or coarse ones you’d never utter at a business meeting or a first date, everybody has an alternate word (or two) for that all-important loo.
Want to add to your list? Here are several slang expressions. Some may sound familiar to you, others foreign. But most, you might find amusing.
19 Funny Names for Toilets From A-Z
The term is short for “bog house”, an 18th-century British English colloquial word for toilet. Originally “bog” was said to describe an open cesspit and the word was later used to refer to the outhouse connected to it.
As everybody knows, a can stands for any receptacle used for garbage, or a bucket, or container for holding or carrying liquids.
Crappe was a term from the 1400s referring to unwanted discards like weeds, corn husks, and icky residue from rendered fat. By the 19th century, “crapping” had become a slang and somewhat vulgar term in England to mean “defecating”. And “crapper” was used to refer to chamber pots and toilets. The word gained popularity with the rising influence of Thomas Crapper, a 19th-century sanitary engineer and businessman who liked to invent things. He developed the ballcock, an improved tank-filling mechanism still used in toilets today.
Dunny is an Australian word originating from the British dunnekin which means cesspit and dung-house. The dunny is now an informal word often used to refer to an outhouse in the Australian bush, usually with a rudimentary drop- or pit-style lavatory. The person whose unfortunate job is to empty the pan beneath the seat regularly is known as the “dunnyman”.
5. The “Head”
In the 1400s the word “head” was being used in nautical language to refer to the front or bow of a ship or boat. Before long it came to be known as the lavatory which was usually found in the bow of a vessel. The earliest example of this usage is from A Cruising Voyage Round the World, a 1712 book by the English sea captain Woodes Rogers: “He begg’d to go into the Head to ease himself.”
“Honeypot” is an obsolete word for a chamberpot or slop bucket. But in the 1940s it became a military slang for a makeshift toilet. A variant of this is “honey bucket”, used especially in Canada and Alaska.
The Dictionary of American Regional English says “toilet” is indeed one of the definitions for the word “hopper,” especially in the Northeast. It may have gotten that reference during the early 1900s when passenger trains used to dispose of human waste straight onto the railroad tracks using what was known as drop chute toilets or hopper toilets.
8. The “Horse” in “To See a Man About A Horse”
“To see a man about a horse” is an English idiomatic expression signaling one’s need to use the toilet. Usually it’s used as a way to apologize for one’s departure or temporary absence, which is a polite way of concealing his true purpose which is simply to go to the toilet. It’s a variant of “to see a man about a dog”.
9. House of Office
This was a common name for a standalone toilet in 17th century England.
10. The Jacks
British slang for toilet. In Tudor England a toilet was first referred to as “a jakes” in 1530. In modern Ireland the related term “jacks” is still used, and is a very common method of referring to the toilet.
‘The John” is said to be named after Sir John Harrington, a 16th to 17th-century English writer who was very good at inventing things, including the improvements he did on the beginnings of Britain’s first flushing toilet. While he didn’t invent the flushing toilet himself, he was credited for the improvements he did so his name became associated with it from then on.
“Khazi” is still heard in parts of England such as Liverpool, despite it being more associated with Cockney slang originating from London. Variants are spelled karzy, kharsie or carzey, from a Cockney word carsey meaning “toilet”.
This is a scouting term for an outhouse, and is said to be an acronym for either “Keep Your Bowels Open” or “Keep Your Bowels Operating”.
14. Little House
In the 1500s the Welsh term “little house” was developed as a euphemism for a room or small building used as a toilet, especially one situated outside and without plumbing. Presumably a person left the big house to go outside to a smaller one to do their business.
A popular etymology for this word is that it came from gardy-loo, an Anglicized version of the French expression, guardez l’eau which means “watch out for the water”. It was supposed to be a warning shouted by medieval servants before emptying their masters’ chamber pots from an upper-story window onto the filthy street below.
This is a Northeastern English expression for an outside toilet, said to be a shortened version of the word “necessity”. It could also be short for the Italian word gabbinetti, meaning “cabinet”, since a toilet there is referred to as il gabinetti di decenza or “the cabinet of decency”.
17. Porcelain Throne
It’s simply the “royal way” of referring to a toilet. It comes from the porcelain material used to make toilets and the royal seat a king or queen sits on. The standalone “throne” was already a euphemism as early as the time of King Louis XIV, who often attended to royal business from his toilet, considering it a convenient alternative to his usual throne. Click here to find out why toilets are made of porcelain.
“Privy” comes from the Old French privé, which means “intimate friendly” and “a private place.” In Northern England and Scotland it is commonly used to refer to a latrine, while in North America it usually refers to an outhouse.
Thunderbox is a portable commode, possibly named after the booming sounds and action emanating from there. Historically it’s an English and Australian word referring to the stool enclosing a chamber pot found in simple outhouses.