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In reference to lavatories, an indirection developed under the influence of powder one's nose (euphemism for use a toilet). Compare boudoir.


powder room (plural powder rooms)

  1. A room used to store gunpowder, particularly (historical) on a ship equipped with cannon.
    Are you insane? Don't take a candle into the powder room!
  2. (historical) A room used to powder hair and wigs.
  3. (originally US, euphemistic) Synonym of ladies' room: a lavatory intended for use by women.
    If you'll excuse me, I need to visit the powder room to seeing a man about a dog.
    • 1927, E.A. Park, New Backgrounds for a New Age, Ch. ix, page 173:
      They are the authors of the small powder room in the Hofbrau House at Broadway and Fifty-third Street, New York, a very modern creation.
  4. (euphemistic) Synonym of half bath: a small room with a toilet and sink but no bathtub or shower.


Related termsEdit



  • "powder room, n.", in the Oxford English Dictionary (2006), Oxford: Oxford University Press.