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excuse yourself to go to the toilet politely Options
Khalid Sami
Posted: Tuesday, November 26, 2013 6:56:01 AM
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Hello everybody!


How you would excuse yourself to go to the toilet politely?

Which words of these are more polite: loo, bog, karzie, lavvy, privy, latrine, can, john, throne...?


Thank you very much.
Romany
Posted: Tuesday, November 26, 2013 9:23:49 AM
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I don't consider any reason at all to tell people WHY I am absenting myself. I usually just murmur "Excuse me." or "Back in a minute" and leave. As do my colleagues/friends.

As to what one might say amongst good mates? Well again, that depends on the friends, your lifestyles etc. etc. etc. Different groups say different things, but each of the words in your lists are some of the many used words used.

John and Can wouldn't be heard outside of North America, but all the others are in constant use. I wouldn't imagine any was any more 'polite' than another, though?

Though, others are bound to disagree, so lets wait and see what they say.

(I know that in America euphemisms are preferred so even the words 'lavatory' or 'toilet' may be considered impolite.)
Christine
Posted: Tuesday, November 26, 2013 9:42:33 AM

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Excuse me. I need to go to the restroom.

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Drag0nspeaker
Posted: Tuesday, November 26, 2013 9:48:56 AM

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Like Romany, usually. I'd just say "'Scuse me a minute, won't be long."

Occasionally, at work, I have to call someone to 'cover' my job (greet people coming in, unlock the door and so on) I just say "Can you cover the desk, while I go to the toilet?"

"Lavatory" and "lavvy" are not commonly used - they sound a bit old-fashioned.

"Loo" is fairly polite but informal. The others are less polite.

I've never actually heard anyone say 'john', 'can' or 'throne', except in films.


Wyrd bið ful aræd - bull!
balamb
Posted: Tuesday, November 26, 2013 10:23:27 AM

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Hi Khalid.
I feel I must jump in here and say that in Britain it is quite polite to say that you are going to the loo. Lavatory is the correct word and is used by the "upper classes". But for heavens sake, if you find yourself in polite society, do not use any of the other words you suggested. Some of them are quite vulgar.
It is not impolite to say that you are going to the toilet but, as Romany says, it is unnecessary.
Rest room is only used in America as far as I am aware.
Drag0nspeaker
Posted: Tuesday, November 26, 2013 10:25:39 AM

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If someone said they needed the restroom, around here, the standard reply would be "Why? Are you tired?"


Wyrd bið ful aræd - bull!
IMcRout
Posted: Tuesday, November 26, 2013 10:49:49 AM

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In an English-speaking environment I usually 'powder my nose'. Think

I totally take back all those times I didn't want to nap when I was younger. (Anon)
Hope2
Posted: Tuesday, November 26, 2013 11:29:33 AM

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I usually say the same as Dragon and Romany. 'Excuse me please.' I might add 'I'll be back in a moment'.

If referring informally to the bathroom in this situation, we use 'going to the washroom', but only with family. Nobody needs to know where you are going, and anyhow, they all know where you are going and what you are doing. Miss Manners would agree.

I have used 'powder my nose' sometimes too. We do use 'john' in informal situations with family.

(Digression - Poor John. He gets a 'Dear John' letter. His name is used as a toilet. His name is used for a man who visits a prostitute. He may be a John Doe. What else?)


Most of the trouble in the world is caused by people wanting to be important. T. S. Eliot
TheParser
Posted: Tuesday, November 26, 2013 11:56:07 AM
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Khalid Sami:


1. If you come to the States, it would be better NOT to use the word "toilet." The word "toilet" usually refers to the white bowl.

2. If you are in someone's home, you may ask to use the "bathroom."

3. If you are in an office, you may ask, "Where is the restroom?"

4. In some homes, a family member may humorously say, "I'm going to the reading room."

5. Some very delicate people might not want to say, "Where is the ____?" So they might just say, "Where can I wash my hands?"


James
LMcL
Posted: Tuesday, November 26, 2013 1:14:27 PM
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Sami, I concur with many of the others here regarding politeness and keeping one's business to one's self, but the definition of politeness varies considerably over here in the land of the self-absorbed ME. We don't say "loo." That is British and to be avoided, lest one is attempting to sound British, which is just silly unless one really is British. Many Americans have an almost OCD fixation with all things British (and, increasingly, Australian), nearly swooning if they hear an "English" accent--as if there were only one. If directions are required to a porcelain facility, most in the U.S. would do as TheParser says and inquire after the "restroom." You will frequently find RESTROOM signs in places of business. Interestingly, many people refer to the same specific area as a "bathroom," even though the room itself may not even have a tub or shower at all. Alternatively, one occasionally hears the term "lavatory," which essentially means "washroom". "Washroom" is also heard from time to time, but less and less often. From my father's generation one would sometimes humorously and euphemistically hear, "I need to see a man about a horse."
Kerry.P
Posted: Tuesday, November 26, 2013 6:54:45 PM

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Hi LMcL - here the expression uses "dog" instead of "horse", eg, "I'm going to see a man about a dog".

I was young the first time I heard my dad use this expression and was so happy to know that we were finally going to get a pet dog. Liar
Romany
Posted: Tuesday, November 26, 2013 7:11:43 PM
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Yep. First time I heard that expression I got up to go with my father's friend so I could go and pat the dog!
Tovarish
Posted: Tuesday, November 26, 2013 7:17:06 PM

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I remember this saying from my father too Kerry, 'man about a dog', then I pestered him constantly, what about the dog, what did the man say, where is the dog?, pest of a child wants the dog!

Sami, most often, less is best, you can give too much information, people sitting around a table don't want to know you need to go to the toilet.
excaelis
Posted: Tuesday, November 26, 2013 9:35:47 PM

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Oh Tov, the Australian idioms for this one must be both hilarious and innumerable.

Growing up I often heard the 'P.K.', or 'Piccanin Kaya'( unsure about the spelling) - the ' little room ' in one of the Southern African languages. Romany ?

Sanity is not statistical
Romany
Posted: Wednesday, November 27, 2013 3:14:18 AM
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Actually Ex, that's Nuiguinea Pidgin! i.e. South Pacific Pidgin. Wonder how it migrated that far?

(Actually, its a sort of bastardised pidgin used only by Europeans who THINK that's what the word should be. Like calling a helicopter a 'Mixmaster bilong Jesus Christ'. Like, seriously, if there was a concept like 'Mixmaster' in Pidgin, then there'd be a concept for 'helicopter' anyway!)
LMcL
Posted: Wednesday, November 27, 2013 4:49:41 AM
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We see a man about a horse, not a dog, because that's what you do when you're horse tradin'. Don't know what the rest of you potty mouths are talking about! We also ... well, again my father's generation (colorful character, my father) ... Anyway, another expression is "loping one's mule," as in:

"Where's that lazy, egg suckin' Clyde?"
"Oh, he's off lopin' his mule I expect. Won't see him 'til after chores are done."

Not really the same activity as the horse trading business, and probably derails the thread, but amusing all the same.
TL Hobs
Posted: Wednesday, November 27, 2013 1:43:35 PM

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Unless I have overlooked it, I am surprised that nobody has suggested "Men's room" or "Ladies room." If I am at a restaurant and need to attend to nature, I usually ask "Where is the Men's room?" The need for the request is typically understood. I may only wish to wash my hands, but they do not need to know that. I won't be going there to rest, or take a bath.

In Spanish, one might ask for the "service room" (El servicio.)

"When you don't know where you are going, you have to stick together just in case someone gets there." - Ken Kesey
FounDit
Posted: Wednesday, November 27, 2013 2:17:14 PM

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Hmm,...well, in my time, "lopin' your mule" was a completely different activity from needing to relieve oneself.

On second thought, that's not quite right.

Err,...a different kind of 'relief'...Dancing

We should look to the past to learn from it, not destroy our future because of it — FounDit
Jyrkkä Jätkä
Posted: Wednesday, November 27, 2013 2:44:01 PM

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In some appropriately relaxed companion a male Finn could say: "I'll go to greet my little brother..."
Finnish equivalent of "Excuse me" is always suitable. No need to tell all the details.


In the beginning there was nothing, which exploded.
LMcL
Posted: Wednesday, November 27, 2013 8:42:12 PM
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FounDit wrote:
Hmm,...well, in my time, "lopin' your mule" was a completely different activity from needing to relieve oneself.

On second thought, that's not quite right.

Err,...a different kind of 'relief'...Dancing


---

No, I think we're talking about the same thing, FounDit. As I said, not really the same thing as the horse tradin' business!
Khalid Sami
Posted: Thursday, November 28, 2013 10:53:54 AM
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Thank you very much.
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