‘Lavatory’ comes from the Latin ‘lavatorium’, which comes from ‘layo’, which translated to modern English means ‘I wash’. Today, the word describes a washing/bathing area.
‘Dunny’ is the Australian term for an outside toilet. The word derives from the British word ‘dunnekin’, meaning dun house. The person who empties it is called a dunnyman.
The precursor to the modern flush toilet was invented by English courtier John Harington in 1596. However, it didn’t enter widespread use for another 300 years.
One of the toilet’s more recent advances has been the ‘duoset’ flushing mechanism. The first gives a smaller flush for urine, while the second gives a larger flush for faeces.
Due to the large amounts of water used per person each day on flushing (90 litres/19.8 gallons on average), rules have been introduced to reduce the amount used by toilet systems.
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