AskDefine | Define bathe

Dictionary Definition

bathe n : the act of swimming; "the Englishman said he had a good bathe"


1 cleanse the entire body; "bathe daily"
2 suffuse with or as if with light; "The room was bathed in sunlight"
3 clean one's body by immersion into water; "The child should bathe every day" [syn: bath]

User Contributed Dictionary



  • a UK /beɪð/, /beID/
  • a US


etyl ang baþian


  1. To clean oneself by immersion in water or using water; to take a bath, have a bath.
  2. To immerse oneself, or part of the body, in water for pleasure or refreshment; to swim.
  3. To apply water or other liquid to; to suffuse or cover with liquid.
    She bathed her eyes with liquid to remove the stinging chemical.
    The nurse bathed his wound with a sponge.
    The incoming tides bathed the coral reef.
  4. To cover or surround.
    The room was bathed in moonlight.
    A dense fog bathed the city streets.
  5. To sunbathe.
    The women bathed in the sun.

Derived terms

Related terms



  1. The act of swimming or bathing, especially in the sea, a lake, or a river; a swimming bath.
    I'm going to have a midnight bathe tonight.

Extensive Definition

Bathing is the immersion of the body in a fluid, usually water or an aqueous solution. It may be practiced for hygiene, religious or therapeutic purposes or as a recreational activity.
Some spa facilities provide bathing in various other liquids such as chocolate or mud. There have been examples of bathing in champagne, baked beans and all manner of other substances. The intentional exposure of the body to any agent may be considered bathing, for example to sunlight (sunbathing).

Reasons for bathing

Whist a person lies in the bath, they reflect upon the day's happenings. Bathing serves several purposes:
  • Hygiene, and the physical appearance of cleanliness
  • Decontamination from chemical, biological, nuclear or other exposure-type hazards.
  • Recreation
  • Therapy (e.g. hydrotherapy), healing, rehabilitation from injury or addiction, relaxation (e.g. Blessed Rainy Day)
  • Religious, or, less frequently, other ceremonial rites (e.g. Baptism, Mikvah)
  • Celebration and socialization, e.g. running through fountains after winning the World Series, or jumping through a hole cut in the ice over a lake on New Year's Eve.
  • Ensuring people are free of certain items such as weapons or other contraband: In Chicago, Russian baths were a safe meeting place for rival gang leaders. Weapons are difficult to conceal on a nearly naked body. If the meeting resulted in reconciliation, the gangs would meet upstairs for bagels, cream cheese and borscht. Many homeless shelters, and almost all prisons have an intake facility or intake process that includes a supervised shower with change of clothes to ensure that no contraband or contamination enters the facility.
Bathing is usually done in a bath (i.e. a place designed for bathing), but may also be done in places not specifically designed for the purpose, such as rooftops (sunbathing), a lake or river.
One town known for its baths is Bath (known during ancient Roman times as Aquae Sulis), a Roman city in England famous for healing hydrothermal springs. It was a popular resort town for the wealthy from Elizabethan to Georgian times.

Kinds of baths

There are various kinds of baths, which include:

Bathtub and shower

Bathtub and shower are most commonly used for bathing both in private houses and hotels.

Bathwear / nudity

Bathing usually involves the removal of at least some clothing; normally in private baths all clothing is removed. The amount of clothing removed depends on circumstance, custom, and willingness of bathers to reveal themselves. A swimsuit, swimming costume, or bathing suit is a garment designed for swimming or bathing. Typically a men's suit consists of shorts or briefs. A women's suit often consists of two pieces that cover the breasts and pubic region, or of one piece that resembles the combination of briefs and a tank top joined together.

Bathing Babies

Babies can be bathed in a kitchen sink or a small plastic baby bath, instead of using a standard bath, which offers less control of the infant's movements and requires the parent to lean awkwardly or kneel.

Frequency and time of the day

In Western culture, it is typical for people to bathe in the morning before starting the activities of the day or meeting with others outside the home. Arriving at work without having showered may be seen as a sign of unprofessionalism or slovenliness. In contrast, people in East Asia customarily bathe twice a day especially during the evening or the night, the rationale being that after a day's work one should remove sweat and dirt, in order to be comfortable and clean, thus keeping the bed clean.

Hazards of bathing

  • Drowning is one possible danger of bathing. Drowning has been known to occur in a shower, though the risks are less than in an immersion bath.
  • Heatstroke can also result from the use of sauna baths or other hot baths.
  • Hypothermia from using cool baths and not being sensitive to the cold, as a result of falling asleep for example.
  • Ear infections, also known as swimmer's ear can result from water building up and the resulting increase in bacteria.
  • Impact injuries are also possible from landing inappropriately in a bath, from an elevation, or from collision with other bathers, or with the sides of the bath.
  • Irritation caused by bathing solutions or other cosmetic products.
  • Infection caused by sharing dirty bathwater or bathing with others.
  • Collapsing when getting out of the bath because of the sudden change in blood pressure can occur, particularly when the bath is hot. Fainting can lead to accidents (including drowning if one falls back into the bath).
  • The wet surface of the floor is a hazard and can lead to falling. Therefore, it is advisable for people with less dexterity or balance be seated during bathing.
  • With advanced age, some people experience a diminished ability to sense temperature, and must use extra care to avoid accidentally scalding themselves while bathing. This is also true of individuals of any age with sensory nerve damage. Caution is needed with children as well, as their body is much more sensitive to temperature and pain and they are more vulnerable to changes in temperature; this is particularly the case with infants.
  • Bathing infants too often has been linked to the development of asthma or severe eczema according to some researchers, including Michael Welch, chair of the American Academy of Pediatrics' section on allergy and immunology
  • Tap water often used for bathing most likely contains chlorine that may have negative effects on skin.
bathe in German: Badekultur
bathe in French: Bain
bathe in Indonesian: Mandi
bathe in Japanese: 入浴
bathe in Portuguese: Banho (higiene corporal)
bathe in Simple English: Bathing
bathe in Swedish: Bad
bathe in Telugu: స్నానం
bathe in Thai: อาบน้ำ

Synonyms, Antonyms and Related Words

Australian crawl, Finnish bath, Japanese bath, Russian bath, Swedish bath, Turkish bath, aquaplaning, aquatics, backstroke, balneation, bandage, baptize, bath, bathing, breaststroke, brew, butterfly, care for, cold shower, crawl, cure, diagnose, dive, diving, doctor, dog paddle, douche, douse, drench, drouk, fin, fishtail, flapper, flipper, float, floating, flush, flush out, flux, gargle, give care to, go in swimming, go in wading, heal, hip bath, holystone, hummum, imbrue, imbue, impregnate, infiltrate, infuse, inject, irrigate, lap, lather, launder, lave, leach, lip, lixiviate, macerate, massage, minister to, mop, mop up, natation, needle bath, nurse, operate on, percolate, permeate, physic, plaster, plunge bath, poultice, purge, remedy, rinse, rinse out, ritually immerse, rub, saturate, sauna, sauna bath, scour, scrub, scrub up, seethe, shampoo, shower, shower bath, sidestroke, sitz bath, skinny-dip, sluice, sluice out, soak, soap, sodden, sop, souse, splint, sponge, sponge bath, steep, strap, surfboarding, surfing, swab, sweat bath, swim, swimming, syringe, toivel, tread water, treading water, treat, tub, wade, wading, wash, wash out, wash up, waterlog, waterskiing, whirlpool bath
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