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Laboratory vs. Lavatory: What's the Difference?

By Harlon Moss & Janet White || Updated on May 20, 2024
A laboratory is a facility for scientific research and experiments, while a lavatory is a bathroom or washroom.

Key Differences

A laboratory is a controlled environment where scientific research, experiments, and measurements are conducted. It is equipped with specialized equipment and materials to facilitate studies in various fields such as chemistry, biology, and physics. A lavatory, on the other hand, is a term for a bathroom or washroom, a place designed for personal hygiene activities. It typically includes facilities such as toilets, sinks, and sometimes showers or bathtubs.
While a laboratory is associated with scientific and technical activities, a lavatory is linked to sanitation and personal hygiene. The two terms, despite their phonetic similarity, pertain to entirely different functions and settings.
Laboratories are essential in educational institutions, research centers, and industries for developing new technologies and understanding natural phenomena. Lavatories are found in homes, public buildings, and transportation hubs, offering essential hygiene facilities for daily use.
In terms of usage, "laboratory" often involves discussions about experiments, safety protocols, and research findings, whereas "lavatory" concerns cleanliness, maintenance, and amenities provided for comfort and convenience.

Comparison Chart

Definition

Facility for scientific research
Bathroom or washroom
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Primary Use

Conducting experiments and studies
Personal hygiene activities

Common Equipment

Test tubes, beakers, microscopes
Toilets, sinks, mirrors

Associated Fields

Science, technology, education
Sanitation, public health

Typical Locations

Schools, research centers, industries
Homes, public buildings, transportation hubs

Laboratory and Lavatory Definitions

Laboratory

A place equipped for scientific research and experiments.
The laboratory is where the scientists conduct their experiments.
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Lavatory

A room with toilet and washing facilities.
The lavatory is down the hall on the right.

Laboratory

Room or building for developing new technologies.
The tech company has a state-of-the-art laboratory.

Lavatory

A restroom or public toilet.
Public lavatories are available in the park.

Laboratory

Controlled environment for scientific studies.
Students learn chemistry in the school laboratory.

Lavatory

A facility for sanitary purposes.
She cleaned the lavatory thoroughly.

Laboratory

Facility for testing and analyzing materials.
The blood samples were sent to the laboratory for analysis.

Lavatory

A room equipped with washing and often toilet facilities; a bathroom.

Laboratory

Workspace for scientific innovation.
Innovations often start in a laboratory setting.

Lavatory

A washbowl or basin, especially one permanently installed with running water.

Laboratory

A room or building equipped for scientific experimentation or research.

Lavatory

A flush toilet.

Laboratory

An academic period devoted to work or study in such a place.

Lavatory

A vessel or fixture for washing, particularly:

Laboratory

A place where drugs and chemicals are manufactured.

Lavatory

A laver: a washbasin.

Laboratory

A place for practice, observation, or testing.

Lavatory

(archaic) A bathtub.

Laboratory

A room, building or institution equipped for scientific research, experimentation or analysis.

Lavatory

(Christianity) A piscina: the basin used for washing communion vessels.

Laboratory

A place where chemicals, drugs or microbes are prepared or manufactured.

Lavatory

(Christianity) A lavabo: the basin used for washing one's hands before handling the Eucharist.

Laboratory

The workroom of a chemist; also, a place devoted to experiments in any branch of natural science; as, a chemical, physical, or biological laboratory. Hence, by extension, a place where something is prepared, or some operation is performed; as, the liver is the laboratory of the bile.

Lavatory

A baptismal font: the basin used for baptism, used figuratively for the washing away of sins.

Laboratory

Any place, activity or situation suggestive of a scientific laboratory{1}, especially in being conducive to learning new facts by experimentation or by systematic observation; as, the states serve as laboratories where different new policies may be tested prior to adoption throughout the country.

Lavatory

(construction, interior design) A plumbing fixture used for washing: a sink.
Their 'bathroom' included a toilet and a lavatory but no bath.

Laboratory

A workplace for the conduct of scientific research

Lavatory

Handwashing as an act, particularly

Laboratory

A region resembling a laboratory inasmuch as it offers opportunities for observation and practice and experimentation;
The new nation is a testing ground for socioeconomic theories
Pakistan is a laboratory for studying the use of American troops to combat terrorism

Lavatory

(Christianity) The lavabo: the ritual washing of hands before handling the eucharist.

Lavatory

(Christianity) The ritual washing of hands after using the piscina to clean the communion vessels.

Lavatory

(obsolete) A liquid used in washing; a lotion; a wash; a rinse.

Lavatory

(dated) A washroom: a room used for washing the face and hands.

Lavatory

(euphemism) A room containing a toilet: a bathroom US or WC UK.
Americans don't know 'WC' and Brits mock 'bathroom' but everyone usually understands 'toilet' or 'lavatory'.

Lavatory

A plumbing fixture for urination and defecation: a toilet.

Lavatory

(dated) A place to wash clothes: a laundry.

Lavatory

(obsolete) A place where gold is panned.

Lavatory

(obsolete) A paved room in a mortuary where corpses are kept under a shower of disinfecting fluid.

Lavatory

(dated) Washing, or cleansing by washing.

Lavatory

Washing, or cleansing by washing.

Lavatory

A place for washing.

Lavatory

A basin or other vessel for washing in.

Lavatory

A wash or lotion for a diseased part.

Lavatory

A place where gold is obtained by washing.

Lavatory

A room containing one or more sinks for washing, as well as one or more toilet fixtures; also called bathroom, toilet, and sometimes commode. Commode and toilet may refer to a room with only a toilet fixture, but without a sink.

Lavatory

A room equipped with toilet facilities

Lavatory

A bathroom or lavatory sink that is permanently installed and connected to a water supply and drainpipe; where you wash your hands and face;
He ran some water in the basin and splashed it on his face

Lavatory

A toilet that is cleaned of waste by the flow of water through it

Lavatory

A bathroom or washroom.
He went to the lavatory to wash his hands.

Lavatory

A place for personal hygiene activities.
The airplane lavatory was surprisingly spacious.

FAQs

What facilities are in a lavatory?

Toilets, sinks, and sometimes showers or bathtubs.

Where are laboratories typically found?

In schools, research centers, and industrial settings.

What does a lavatory refer to?

It refers to a bathroom or washroom.

What is a laboratory used for?

It is used for scientific research, experiments, and studies.

Is "lavatory" a common term for bathroom?

Yes, especially in formal or public contexts.

What equipment is found in a laboratory?

Equipment like microscopes, test tubes, and Bunsen burners.

What kind of experiments are done in a laboratory?

Chemical, biological, and physical experiments, among others.

Is "lavatory" used in British English?

Yes, it's commonly used in both British and American English.

Can a laboratory be in a school?

Yes, schools often have laboratories for science education.

Do lavatories require maintenance?

Yes, regular cleaning and upkeep are necessary.

Are lavatories found in airplanes?

Yes, they are essential for passenger convenience.

What is a wet laboratory?

A laboratory equipped for handling chemicals and biological matter.

Can "lavatory" refer to a portable toilet?

Yes, portable toilets can also be called lavatories.

Do all schools have laboratories?

Most schools have science laboratories, especially at higher levels.

What is a dry laboratory?

A lab focused on computational or theoretical work without wet chemicals.

Are lavatories gender-specific?

They can be, but many public places now offer unisex options.

What is a key feature of a laboratory?

Controlled environment for precise scientific work.

What safety measures are important in a laboratory?

Proper ventilation, protective gear, and safety protocols.

Are lavatories in public places free to use?

Often, but some may charge a small fee.

Can a laboratory be used for medical research?

Absolutely, many laboratories focus on medical and clinical studies.
About Author
Written by
Harlon Moss
Harlon is a seasoned quality moderator and accomplished content writer for Difference Wiki. An alumnus of the prestigious University of California, he earned his degree in Computer Science. Leveraging his academic background, Harlon brings a meticulous and informed perspective to his work, ensuring content accuracy and excellence.
Co-written by
Janet White
Janet White has been an esteemed writer and blogger for Difference Wiki. Holding a Master's degree in Science and Medical Journalism from the prestigious Boston University, she has consistently demonstrated her expertise and passion for her field. When she's not immersed in her work, Janet relishes her time exercising, delving into a good book, and cherishing moments with friends and family.

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