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Restroom vs Bathroom: What’s the Difference?

You may notice people using these two terms in some situations, and you may be confused about their meaning. Is the restroom the same as the bathroom? Are there differences? How can you define them, and how can you tell them apart?

So what are the differences between a restroom and a bathroom? A bathroom is a room in a private apartment where people can take a bath or be used as a toilet. On the other side, a restroom is a room that can be used as a toilet, but it is referred to public places, like restaurants and bars.

But that is not all. All these terms have a different meaning from country to country where the English language is used as a primary language. You may get confused if you are used to one thing, then somewhere else it is meant something different. There are also differences in the uses of these rooms, so stay with me just for a little while more.

Defining A Restroom And A Bathroom

The term bathroom originated from the 18th century, and its basic meaning was to describe a room with a shower or a tub in private residences or hotels. In British English, the meaning remained the same, and Hong Kong, Singapore, Australia, and New Zealand share the same definition. In time, to save space, every bathroom besides the tub or a shower, also had a toilet and a sink.

On the other hand, in America and South Africa, the term bathroom is used for rooms with a toilet. Another interesting thing about the usage of the term bathroom is how it is used, and where.

In America, if you want to relieve yourself, you will never ask for a toilet, but for the bathroom, because the toilet is considered vulgar. In the United Kingdom, people don`t have a problem with toilets, and they know the difference and similarities between a toilet and a bathroom.

A restroom was created with a different idea in mind. The original function of the restroom in the United Kingdom is just that – a room used for rest, and it was connected with the actual bathroom.

A restroom was used in some public buildings like operas, theaters, and upscale restaurants, and its use goes as back as to the beginning of the 20th century. The first restrooms were divided from a bathroom with a door, and in it were comfortable chairs, sofas, and other furniture made for relaxation.

There were some noted cases that restrooms were used as rooms for having sex in some luxury theaters. These types of restrooms were known up to the 1970s, and from there they changed their functions. Now a restroom has urinals, toilets, and washers. They can be found in many places, like shopping malls, factories, public buildings, offices, restaurants, and others.

Restrooms can be free for use, or they can charge a small fee. In the Americas, a restroom was first used at the beginning of the 20th century and that was a name for a public toilet. The meaning of rest was not implying that it is the room for rest, but to refresh yourself by washing your face and hands.

Again, there can be a misinterpretation as the meaning of the term varies. In America, the question “where is the restroom?” can be compared with the question “where is the bathroom?” in England. So, if English is not your native language, you should learn what terms are used in which country.

Restroom vs Bathroom

Bathroom Restroom
Original meaning A room with a bath or a tub A room in which a person can take a rest
Facilities Depending on the place. Usually has a tub or a shower, a sink, and a toilet Today it consists of a urinal or a toilet and a sink
Types Usually are made for private homes and apartments Can be made for large public buildings, and to be used by more persons at the same time

FAQ About Restrooms And Bathrooms

Q: Which is correct, a bathroom or a restroom?

It all depends on the meaning. In England, a restroom is an actual room for resting. If you would ask for a restroom you would get a place where could you sit and lie down.

In America, a restroom is a place where you can relieve yourself in public. Restrooms are made in shopping malls, schools, offices, and other public buildings.

A bathroom in England is a room where you can wash in a shower or a bath, and you can also use it as a toilet. In America, a bathroom is considered a room with a toilet and a sink. Very confusing, right?

Why do people say restroom instead of a bathroom?

There is not a correct answer. It all depends on where are you and what are you looking for. You should only know what term is used for what purpose in the country you are staying.

If you are a tourist, check some basics of the language and its use, because you can get confused if you don`t know how to explain the thing you are looking for.

Q: Is restroom one or two words?

If you are looking for the term restroom with its meaning then it is only one word.

Q: Do they say bathroom in Canada?

Like I mentioned there are a lot of terms for similar things around the world. Some use washroom, others a bathroom or a restroom, depending on the meaning and place.

In Canada, people are usually using the term washroom if they are looking for a place to relieve themselves. Canadians are calling rooms with a toilet and a sink a washroom. It doesn`t matter if it is in a public space, like a shopping mall, or in a private home.

Q: In the United Kingdom, which term is used, a bathroom or a washroom?

In Britain, a room with a toilet, a tub or a shower, and a sink is called a bathroom. But that is only used for the rooms in homes. A washroom is a term used in Canada.

Q: How does a restroom get its name?

Restroom had different meanings around the globe. It was a common term for a public toilet in America. It consisted of a toilet and a sink.

That was a place where people can come to refresh themselves by washing hands, face, and even hair. In the United Kingdom, a restroom was a room adjacent to a public toilet.

It consisted of a cozy sofa and chairs. It was usually found in public places as upper-class restaurants, theaters, and operas.

Q: What is the bathroom called in the USA?

There is the use of the term bathroom in the USA. A room with a sink and a toilet in a private home is called a bathroom. Even it contains a word bath, a bathroom in the USA doesn`t always have a bath in it.

If you are a tourist in a country with an English being a native language you should learn to make a difference between terms restroom and a bathroom.

You should also cover other variants, as the loo, washroom, and others, because every dialect of the English language has a different meaning for these terms.

You can find yourself in a problem if you don`t know how to explain what you are looking for. In most cases with a little explanation, you can find the answer you are looking for, but it is better to know, right?

I hope I shared some quality and information content with you. If you are interested in covering similar topics, keep following my blog.

James Smith

James is a passionate explorer and the creative mind behind, a platform dedicated to unraveling captivating distinctions. With an insatiable curiosity, he uncovers hidden nuances in various aspects of life, from cultural traditions to scientific phenomena. James believes that appreciating differences fosters personal growth and societal empathy.