Loo Lingo: Funny Names for Toilets & Their Origins

Everyone has a favorite alternative name for the bathroom. Some people prefer casually calling it the toilet while others feel a more refined name like restroom is more appropriate. Regardless of where you fall, there’s no doubt that the bathroom has gained some hilarious, intriguing, and downright interesting nicknames over the years. Let’s take a deep dive into the extensive loo lingo that’s developed over time.


Popular culture often misattributes this term to the English plumber Thomas Crapper whose “notability with regard to toilets has often been overstated”, according to Wikipedia. In reality, this slightly crass yet beloved term for the toilet is actually derived from a combination of the Old French crappe (waste) and the Dutch krappen (to separate).

Further Reading: The Fascinating History of the Urinal Cake

Porcelain Throne

Toilets have been constructed from a wide variety of materials over the years including stone, wood, and eventually porcelain. It wasn’t until 1870 that this white ceramic material became the standard for toilets. Once Thomas Tyford’s porcelain bowl invention took off, it didn’t take long for users to get imaginative. The Porcelain Throne suggests that everyone can be royalty in the comfort of their own home.


Another favorite toilet term among restroom users (aka everyone) is the John which actually has royal origins. Sir John Harrington, an eccentric godson of Queen Elizabeth I, spent his time writing risque poetry…and designing advanced versions of the flush toilet. The invention was quickly associated with his name. Sir John Harrington even found a way to write about his design while critiquing the monarchy in A New Discourse of a Stale Subject, called the Metamorphosis of Ajax. Did we say he was eccentric?


Before the miracle of public sewer systems, the restroom experience wasn’t exactly pleasant. When nature called in the middle of the night, people were stuck using stand-alone toilets in their rooms. These bowl-shaped devices quickly became known as chamber pots due to their shape and location. Over time, the term was shortened to potty and entered the loo lexicon as a preferred term when speaking with children about the toilet.

Oval Office

The US has gotten a lot right and wrong about the public restroom. But, we’ve definitely earned an award for the most creative names for the loo. Perhaps the most patriotic and creative of these terms is Oval Office. The iconic presidential office shares the same shape as a standard toilet bowl (make of that what you will). And, just like a restroom, it’s where all the important work gets done.

Reading Room

If you belong to the 63% of people who read when “going”, this nickname should come as no surprise. Whether you prefer books, magazines, newspapers, or your phone, reading is a great way to pass the time. This tendency for people to transform into bookworms when stepping into the restroom has also earned it the nickname The Library. Take this as a friendly reminder to refresh your restroom reading material!

Think Tank

The shower isn’t the only place in a restroom associated with generating great ideas. The toilet is often referred to as the Think Tank for its ability to get the wheels turning. Even Steve Jobs relied on the toilet to relieve stress and clear his head, according to Walter Isaacon’s massively successful biography on the Apple icon. While the average user (most likely) isn’t dreaming up the next iPhone, the restroom is still a fantastic place to avoid distractions and focus the mind.

The Portland Loo is another name making a splash in the wide world of restrooms. This modern public bathroom alternative offers a more durable, cost-effective, and sustainable way to “go”. If you’re interested in learning more about the Loo, click here. You can also contact us directly to learn more about the benefits of Loo and how you can bring one to your city.