Sinking Basins

One of the Dutch words I learnt recently is gootsteen [ˈɣoːt.steːn], which is a sink or washbasin. It comes from goot (gutter) and steen (stone). According to Duolingo, you might encounter a gootsteen in a bathroom (badkamer / toilet) or kitchen (keuken).

A kitchen sink is a gootsteen, keukengootsteen, or aanrecht [ˈaːn.rɛxt], which is also a kitchen counter or counter top. Alles behalve het aanrecht is “everything but the kitchen sink”, a phrase that started to appear in writing in the early 20th century in newspapers and books in the USA [source].

A washbasin is also a wastafel (“wash-table”), wasbak (“wash-container”), or in Belgium a lavabo, from the Latin lavābō (I will wash).

What does the word sink mean to you?

How about washbasin?

Do you have other words for these things?

Are there separate words for them in other languages?

To me a sink is something you would normally find in a kitchen, or a laboratory. It is often square or rectangular and relatively deep.

Kitchen sink plus tap

A washbasin is something you would find in a bathroom and is often rounded a relatively shallow. Other types of washbasin are available.

Don't try this at home

Sources: Wiktionary, Reverso, Duolingo

4 thoughts on “Sinking Basins

  1. I remember seeing in a guest house in Québec a sign over the sink in the room in which I was staying with an arrow pointing down to the sink. It read ( as a reminder to keep it clean) “Le lavabo doit être “bo”.

  2. Which reminds me of the lame old (and obviously non-PC) Dutch pun: Het enige recht van een vrouw is het aanrecht “A woman’s only right is the kitchen counter/sink”.

  3. In Rotterdam’s shopping district, there’s an alleyway which is below the main level, that they call the “koopgoot”. In English – shopping gutter.

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