Do Americans really say bathroom?

I don’t ask this question idly, but in response to this very kind (and kindly appreciated) blog-review of The Claus Effect, which I came across – erm, idly typing my name into Ice Rocket for no particularly good reason again and again while I should have been revising Mister Juke.

The blogger (who frustratingly, does not identify herself by name) liked the book fine, but pointed this out:

“… in one scene, Neil (American) and Emily (Canadian) are sneaking around the old military installation and looking for a place to hide when Neil says in frustration that a place like that has GOT to have washrooms.


Americans don’t say “washroom.” Americans say “bathroom.””

So I put this out to the World Squid Jamboree (what we Canadians call the Internet): Do Americans not say washroom? Is this an idiom unique to Canadians, and possibly the Welsh?

Speaking of squid… witness, if you will, this photograph from my link buddy Peter Watts’ Rifters blog – because it’s freaky horrific, and as far as I can tell an entirely real manifestation of every nightmare every boy ever had:


So boo. And if I don’t post again ’til then, Happy Halloween.

* * *


It turns out that yes, Americans really do say bathroom, and never (or so very seldom as to amount to never) washroom. This according to my clever expat pal Madeline Ashby. Her theory has something to do with the enduring influence of the French — who use the term salle de bain (room of bath) not salle de lave, (room of washing) — on American culture. I will leave it to the reader to try and square this with the phenomenon of Freedom Fries.

Oh yes. And here are some more factoids on the man-squid — as if mere science will drive the horror of the grinning Promachoteuthis sulcus from your dreams…

(Halloween: two days and counting)

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