AskDefine | Define bathing

Dictionary Definition



1 immersing the body in water or sunshine
2 the act of washing yourself (or another person) [syn: washup]

User Contributed Dictionary


Etymology 1

From bathe



  1. Designed for use whilst bathing.
    The Victorians changed in a bathing machine before paddling in the sea.


  1. present participle of bathe
    Bathing in the sea is considered healthy.

Etymology 2

From bath


  • a UK /ˈbæθ.ɪŋ/, /"b

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.
bathing in German: Badekultur
bathing in French: Bain
bathing in Indonesian: Mandi
bathing in Japanese: 入浴
bathing in Portuguese: Banho (higiene corporal)
bathing in Simple English: Bathing
bathing in Swedish: Bad
bathing in Telugu: స్నానం
bathing in Thai: อาบน้ำ

Synonyms, Antonyms and Related Words

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