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Lavatory or swim:

“Once home, Spouse Observer got started on the demolition (The Observer’s not lazy, it’s just a really small bathroom). Behind the wall where the sink had been, we found an archeological relic: a small piece of wood, not attached to anything, with a shopping list written in pencil on one side.”

A reader says: “I think you meant ‘lavatory.’ A sink is in the kitchen.”

I too grew up believing that the thing in the bathroom where you washed your hands and brushed your teeth was the lavatory, and the thing in the kitchen where your mother washed the dishes was the sink.

The Random House gives some support to this belief. A sink, it says, is “a basin or receptacle as in a kitchen or laundry, usually connected with a water supply and drainage system, for washing dishes, clothing, etc.” RH doesn’t say where in the house a lavatory is most likely to be found, but hints that it would be the bathroom. A lavatory, RH says, is “a bowl or basin with running water for washing or bathing purposes; washbowl.” But I know people who refer to such basins as sinks, wherever they’re found. Some of these people even look at you funny if you mention washing your face in the lavatory, because to them a lavatory is a toilet, or a room containing a toilet. This is particularly true in Britain, where they also refer to the lavatory as “the loo.”

I’ll continue calling the bathroom basin a lavatory, and the device in the kitchen a sink. But I still call a refrigerator an icebox, and perhaps am not the best model in these matters.

I’ll take the Parker house, you take the cinnamon:

An article explaining soccer to Americans said, “Formations are the way a team lines up its players at the start of the match, and vary from team to team. During game play, teammates often switch rolls from offense to defense positions.”

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