Italian Word of the Day: Gabinetto (toilet)

There are several way to translate the word toilet in Italian. You can say bagno, but this noun also means bathroom or bath. There is the French “toilette” that is also used in the Italian language, or if you’re a bit posh, you can ask for the servizi igienici (sanitary services).

But perhaps the most precise translation for toilet is gabinetto (masculine, plural gabinetti).

Italian word for 'toilet'

Gabinetto can refer to the room where the toilet is, as well as to the specific place where you urinate. When referring to the room in the spoken language, however, most people tend to prefer the word bagno.

Mannaggia, mi sono cadute le chiavi di casa nel gabinetto!

Damn, I dropped the house keys into the toilet!

Mi scusi, mi può indicare dove si trova il gabinetto?

Excuse me, could you show me where the toilet/bathroom is?

In Italian, gabinetto can refer to things other than just toilet. In old palaces or government houses, it can mean a study room, dressing room or meeting room. It can also refer to the group of ministers that form a government. In museums, it is a room reserved for special collections, whereas in a school it can mean a lab.

  • gabinetto dentistico = dentist room or studio
  • capo di gabinetto = head of administrative office
  • gabinetto di chimica = chemistry lab

If you spend some time in Italy, you’ll come across another slang word for toilet: cesso. It is fine to use it among friends, but you’ll appear very impolite if you ask for the toilet in this way at a restaurant or in a meeting!

Finally we have water, which actually refers to the toilet bowl but is also used to indicate the toilet itself.

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