Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • n. A communal toilet of a type often used in a camp or barracks.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. a very simple toilet facility, usually just a pit or trench. See also the slang terms john and johnny house.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. A privy, or water-closet, esp. in a camp, hospital, etc.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. A privy; a water-closet; especially, a water-closet in a public place, as in factories, schools, barracks, hospitals, etc.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • n. a public toilet in a military area

Etymologies

From French latrines, privies, from Old French, from Latin lātrīna, privy, from lavātrīna, bath, privy; see leu(ə)- in Indo-European roots.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
From Latin lātrīna. (Wiktionary)

Examples

  • The latrine is within the barbed wire at a little distance from the quarters with two seats and a urinal (Pit-type).

    Work Camp Klein Kirchheim

  • This drawing of a latrine is painted on a wall next to the main square in San Martin Tilcajete, Oaxaca.

    Is there a doctor in the house?

  • "We need a reliable supply of drinking water, mattresses and bedding, as well as kitchen utensils," says Zeenat, adding that "a latrine is a priority."

    Joop Koopman: Poorest in Pakistan Journey Toward a Better Life

  • I growled that I didn't put any faith in latrine-gossip - especially if the latrine was a Hindoo one, and at this one of the older men, Sardul something-or-other, shook his head and says gravely:

    Fiancée

  • And the spot Joe and I had chosen for our latrine was a good forty yards from the tent.

    The Children of the Lost

  • On my first visit, I discovered that the latrine was a couple of holes in the ground that you squatted over to relieve yourself.

    Finch, Melvin W.

  • Our latrine was a five-gallon can in the center of the hold; it was soon filled.

    Blood Brothers

  • I growled that I didn't put any faith in latrine-gossip — especially if the latrine was a Hindoo one, and at this one of the older men, Sardul something-or-other, shook his head and says gravely:

    Flashman In The Great Game

  • Their latrine was a folding lawn chair with a hole in it.

    Gorilla's Guides

  • When soldiers finally allowed her to use a latrine in the courtyard, she found her brother's body there, wrapped in a bloody sheet.

    Madeleine Bair: Casualties on the Battlefield of the "War on Drugs"

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Comments

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  • I suppose this is where I should point out that the singular form of the old Latvian coin is actually lats.

    May 23, 2012

  • I suppose there was terrible confusion with people using the third person singular of the verb 'to lat'.

    May 23, 2012

  • At children's camps in the 1940's when we had to dig our own trenches, and more recently they referred to them as lats.

    May 22, 2012