A few days ago, Lagos-based editor Bamidele Johnson caused a linguistic stir online. In a Facebook post, he wondered why some people like to refer to toilets as bathrooms. In his view, a toilet is a toilet, so to speak.

He wrote: “Bathroom? I know if it has a bathtub or a shower tray in addition to the toilet. However, calling a toilet or toilet without a bathtub a bathroom is “groping” and going too far. When it is called a toilet, the situation will It gets worse as if it has hammocks, sunbeds, armchairs or is used for “accommodation and lodging”. Na overdose go wounjure oyinbo people.

“For Yorubaland and shalanga. For Igbo land is a land. For Hausaland, greetings. For Gaa land, there is a toilet. I am talking about Ashanti land.”

Reactions to the post were mostly humorous, with some followers subtly backing Johnson’s arguments, while others reinforced the controversial use of the word “toilet”. Here are some of them:

  • “For Ibadan, it’s a toilet.”
  • “Is this your bathroom?”
  • “Can we ‘entrust’ you?”
  • “God bless Fella.”
  • ‘Don’t let us fumble. what should it be called
  • “It’s a Canadian restroom.”
  • “But now we all know.”
  • BT, I’m in the baff room. I’ll get back to you after get off work.
  • ‘For Ekiti we use na ugbo iyin. In my neighborhood, there is ori apata that is constantly being profaned, especially every morning.
  • ‘Because the land of the Kikuyu is chocolate.

Johnson’s rebellion aside, the truth is that many people think that bathrooms are just places where people shower, and toilets are places where we do other things — pee and poop, for example. But in reality, the connections between these words are more intriguing, if less complex. Their meanings are intertwined. Therefore, one should always be careful when handling them.


Bathrooms can be a combination bath/shower and toilet. That’s why, as the editor (Johnson) suggests, Cambridge Dictionary defines it as “a room with a bath and/or shower, and usually a toilet”.

This shows that a bathroom can be just a room with a bathtub. It can be a shower only room. It can be a combination bath and shower. Sometimes bathrooms combine a bath/shower and toilet, but not every time a toilet is included.


As a noun, a toilet can be a device in which people urinate or defecate. It can also refer to a room with a toilet. This is consistent with the British English used in Nigeria.

American English

This situation is more interesting in American English, where bathroom refers to a room with a toilet. No bath, no shower! So when you refer to a toilet as a bathroom, you’re already flirting with American English.

Synonyms for “toilet”

Many people find it awkward to use the word “toilet” in public places, even when it’s needed. (That’s why our man, Johnson, is allergic to it!) So, it’s normal to use synonyms. Here are some popular synonyms for “toilet”: convenience, restroom, the Ladies, the Gents, ladies’ room, men’s room, and loo. Please note that if you ask to use the bathroom when you need a toilet, you do so at your own risk as not all bathrooms are equipped with a toilet.

In the meantime, here are some common bathroom synonyms: shower, shower room, and steam room.

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