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A seldom-used definition of toilet is the act or process of dressing or grooming oneself. It shares this definition with the French loanword toilette, which always refers to the grooming process and never to the bathroom fixture.

In English, toilette (usually pronounced in the French style twa-LET, but it’s sometimes toy-LET) was more common in the 19th century than now, but it’s not obsolete. It survives as a useful word for a specific thing.


The file containing Mr Brown’s toilette routine was inside a rucksack found in the back of a black cab at King’s Cross station in London. [Telegraph]

The site also features instructional pieces aimed to help the men-about-town perfect their toilette. [New York Observer]

For a woman’s toilette, I found hand mirrors, perfume bottles, tweezers, a scraper to wipe off sweat, even an applicator for face powder. [New York Times]