I found this word, 廁所 (Cèsuǒ). Does it mean a toilet outside house like a toilet in the mall?

However, for a bathroom in a house which has only a toilet and a shower and there is no bathtub. How can I call it? Is that 廁所, too?

  • 5
    As long as it contains a toilet towl or equivalent, it can be called 厕所. Euphemisms include 卫生间, 洗手间, 盥洗室(this last one is rare in colloquial use). The standard translation of bathroom is, however, 浴室. In your situation, as long as you can clean your body there (it doesn't matter in a shower or bathtub), it can be called 浴室 as well. But most commonly they are still called 厕所.
    – user58955
    Feb 13, 2014 at 15:29
  • 2
    This question had been downvoted twice when I came here. Would be kind of downvoters to leave constructive feedback on how to improve the question. Personally I see no big issue. Feb 13, 2014 at 19:23
  • Thanks again user58955 for your explanations. It's useful
    – nkm
    Feb 14, 2014 at 3:20
  • At first, a vulgar word stands for toilet is 茅房, later replaced with a elegant word 厕所, it means side room or side place, 厕 is same as 侧 originally. But in modern times, people may consider that 厕所 is also a vulgar word, they perfer to use 洗手间 (washroom) or 卫生间 (sanitary room). 盥洗室 is unusual, for the meaning is not only a toilet, it is usually a public place, including cleaning tools for cleaning crew, etc.
    – xenophōn
    Aug 17, 2017 at 11:28

6 Answers 6


You can definitely say "廁所" even it is in your house. There are more than one way to say it. The word "廁所" and "衛生間" probably are most common ones. Other than that "洗手間" is pretty common too. "盥洗室" is not very common in daily uses. You normally will see this in the hospital or kindergarten. The word "浴室" might not be the best one for bathroom because it focus more on the cleaning part. It usually indicate the place that you take a bath. In some area in China "浴室" normally means public bath place.

Again, different place in China has different language habit but "廁所" is definitely ok.

  • I like the answers of everyone. They are all useful to me. Yes, I found many words about toilet in chinese and it made me very confused to use and I can remember only 廁所. For Schrodinger's answer, it helps me understand that different places in China have different languages to call a toilet/bathroom. Right now, I get it!
    – nkm
    Feb 14, 2014 at 2:57
Bathroom is a 浴室.
Toilet is a 廁所.

But one thing you should know "廁所 is not about home or public". It's a specific place.

廁 means a place people do pee or poo.
所 means a place.

In most cases, a bathroom also is a 廁所.

浴: The Left part of this word means water, is a different writing type of 水.
    Right part, 谷, means a mountain valley, and this is U shape.
    So 浴 means bath, do a thing with water and a U shape container.
室: a closed area.

So now you know what the 浴室 mean. But people usually use this word just describe a place people can clean their body. It's totally same meaning as bathroom.

There is no word to describe "take shower" in old century, so people create a new word "淋浴". If you want to describe a place you can do a specific thing - take a shower, you can say "淋浴間".

  • Ah 廁 means pee or poo. It makes me easy to understand this word, 廁所.
    – nkm
    Feb 14, 2014 at 3:08
  • 1
    Sorry for that, 廁 doesn't means pee or poo. I'll edit my description.
    – c-s.c
    Feb 14, 2014 at 10:28
  • The explanation of 浴 is so misleading. 浴 is a 形声字 and the 谷 part is a phonetic component, indicating the pronunciation of the word.
    – user58955
    Feb 20, 2014 at 12:24

when mention “我去趟厕所”, it implies that you go to pee or poo. when mention “我去趟洗手间/卫生间”, it doesn't imply pee or poo, you may go to wash hands which sounds better.

So nowadays, people more and more use “洗手间/卫生间” instead of “厕所” for politeness.

As for bathtub, since Chinese not use that much before, as others mentioned, you can call the room “浴室”.

  • Your answer really helps me to understand the difference between 厕所 and 洗手间. It's very usefull.
    – nkm
    Feb 14, 2014 at 3:00

厕所 is a word that can be used for home and public toilets nowadays. In general, any room with a toilet (马桶), which for pee and poo, is called 厕所.

There were no bathrooms (浴室) in old China, there were only 澡堂, which are public bath houses.

The other names such as 卫生间, 洗手间, 盥洗室, I think are imported from Japanese or translated from foreign languages.


Yes, it does. Whether the toilet is outside the house or the bathroom is in a house which has only a toilet and a shower, it is called "廁所(厕所)".

And we call toilets "洗手间" in a formal situation.


廁所 (厕所) only means toilet, never means bathroom.

The Chinese character 廁(厕) means urination or defecation.
The Chinese character 所 means place.

Therefore 廁所 (厕所) literally means urination/defecation place, so it can only mean toilet. It never means bathroom. You can not take a shower in 廁所 (厕所).

P.S. If you want to say bathroom, you should use the word 浴室. You can take a shower in a 浴室 (bathroom). Moreover, most 浴室 (bathrooms) contain 厕所 (toilets) for urination and defecation.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.