‘Restroom’ or ‘Bathroom’ or ‘Washroom’: What's the Difference?

By Amy Gilmore, updated on May 27, 2023

Are you wondering what the difference is between a 'restroom' or 'bathroom' or 'washroom?' many people use the terms interchangeably, which can be confusing. 

However, by the time you finish this guide, you will be able to easily differentiate between them because I will give you definitions, usages, and pronunciations of each. 

If you are looking for a quick answer, here it is:

  • A 'restroom' is where you can take a break that may or may not have bathroom facilities. 
  • A 'bathroom' is a room where you bathe and use the restroom. 
  • A 'washroom' is a room where you can use the restroom and wash your hands. 

Now that you have the short answer, stick around to learn more about the differences between these three terms.

What is the Difference Between 'Restroom' or 'Bathroom' or 'Washroom?'

These terms are often used interchangeably, which is acceptable. However, they do have slightly different meanings.

  • A 'restroom' is usually a public place where people can use the toilet, wash their hands, and rest. Many luxury malls, airports, and stores have 'restrooms' with a seating area separate from the toilets.
  • 'Bathrooms' are where you can take a bath, but they usually have a toilet and sink.
  • On the other hand, a 'washroom' is another name for what many people call a guest bathroom or powder room.

These rooms typically have a sink and toilet but no shower or tub and are often located downstairs. So, they are easily accessible to visitors you may not necessarily want going into your bedrooms.

When to Use 'Restroom' or 'Bathroom' or 'Washroom'

As I mentioned, people often use these terms interchangeably. But if you want to be technical about it:

  • Use 'restroom' to refer to a public space where you can relieve yourself, wash your hands, make a phone call, or rest for a few minutes.

For example, you might tell someone:

I will meet you in the restroom near the entrance. Then we can look at the dresses and shoes you want to try on. 

  • Use 'bathroom' when discussing a room in your home where you or others shower.

For example, someone might ask you:

Can I use your bathroom? I need to take a shower and do my hair before we leave.

  • Use 'washroom' when you need to freshen up or use the toilet.

For example, you could say:

Great, I got paint all over my hands. Do you have a washroom where I can wash my hands quickly? I do not want to get this paint on your beautiful furniture. 

Definition of 'Restroom': What Does 'Restroom' Mean?

According to the Merriam-Webster Dictionary, 'restroom' is a noun that means:

  • A room in a public place that has lavatories

Synonyms of 'Restroom'

  • Bath
  • Bathroom
  • Lavatory
  • John
  • Head
  • Toilet
  • Washroom
  • Loo
  • Potty
  • Water closet
  • Commode
  • Powder room

Definition of 'Bathroom': What Does 'Bathroom' Mean?

The same dictionary defines 'bathroom' as a noun meaning:

  • A room with a bathtub, shower, toilet, and sink

Synonyms of 'Bathroom'

  • Washroom
  • Shower
  • Lavatory
  • Latrine
  • Bog
  • Pot
  • Privy
  • Ladies' room
  • Men's room
  • Powder room
  • Wash closet

Definition of 'Washroom': What Does 'Washroom' Mean?

Finally, the definition of 'washroom' is:

  • A room containing a sink and toilet

Synonyms of 'Washroom'

  • Commode
  • Toilet
  • Restroom
  • Bathroom
  • Half bath
  • John
  • Powder room
  • Wash closet
  • Water closet
  • Head
  • Bog
  • Cloakroom

Sayings for Going to the 'Restroom' or 'Bathroom' or 'Washroom'

  • Where is the little boy's/girl's room?
  • I have to use the restroom!
  • I have to pee!
  • I need to relieve myself.
  • I need to wash up.
  • I have to go to the potty!
  • Do you need to use the bathroom?
  • Where is the ladies'/men's room?

Pronunciation: How to Pronounce 'Restroom' or 'Bathroom' or 'Washroom'

Knowing how to pronounce words is just as important as knowing how to spell or define them. Otherwise, you may be hesitant to use them.

So, here is a pronunciation guide:

  • Use this phonetic spelling to pronounce 'restroom':


  • You can use this phonetic spelling to pronounce 'bathroom':


  • Use this phonetic spelling to pronounce 'washroom' correctly:


Sample Sentences with 'Restroom' or 'Bathroom' or Washroom'

Now that you know how to define and pronounce these terms, take a look at these sample sentences to ensure you know how to use each.


  • I have to go to the restroom NOW! I have been holding it for the past hour.
  • The restroom is on the first floor towards the back of the building.
  • We are not going to stop again until we arrive. So, if you need to go to the restroom, you should go now.
  • I avoid going to public bathrooms because they are usually disgusting.
  • That store has the best restrooms. They are always clean, and there is a convenient area where you can sit to check emails or return phone calls.


  • The bathroom mirror was foggy after he took a hot shower.
  • I love the color of the new shower curtain in your bathroom.
  • When did you get your bathroom remodeled?
  • I love my new bathroom. It has everything I wanted, including a massive walk-in shower, a bidet, and, my favorite part, a full-body dryer.
  • You can use my bathroom to take a shower. Clean towels are in the cabinet, and shampoo, conditioner, and body wash are under the sink.


  • That washroom is so tiny most adults can barely fit inside.
  • Where did you get the waste basket in your washroom? I have been looking for one like it.
  • The washroom is beautiful and elegant.
  • When you go into the washroom, turn the light on. The switch is on the left side.
  • You can change in the washroom while I shower in my bathroom.

Final Advice on the Difference Between 'Restroom' or 'Bathroom' or 'Washroom'

You should know the difference between 'restroom' or 'bathroom' or 'washroom' now, but just to be sure, here is a recap: 

  • A 'restroom' is a space in a public building where you can use a toilet and wash your hands. 
  • A 'bathroom' is a room in a house where you shower and relieve yourself.
  • A 'washroom' is a small room, usually downstairs, where you can wash you can use the toilet or wash your hands. 

So, the significant differences between these three are that the restroom typically refers to a lavatory in a public place. 'Bathrooms' and 'washrooms' are generally found in homes, and a 'bathroom' contains a shower or tub, while a washroom does not.

If you ever get confused about the meaning of these terms in the future, you can always come back to this guide to review the lesson. You can also read the other confusing words guides to learn more about some of the most frequently misused English words.

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Written By:
Amy Gilmore
Amy Gilmore is one of the lead freelance writers for WritingTips.org. She has been a professional writer and editor for the past eight years. She developed a love of language arts and literature in school and decided to become a professional freelance writer after a demanding career in real estate. Amy is constantly learning to become a better writer and loves sharing tips with other writers who want to do the same.

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