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Bathe vs. Bath

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The differences between American and British English are many and varied. Sometimes, the same word will be spelled differently depending on the region, or words may mean different things entirely. Such is the case with bath and bathe. Both of these words can function as a verb, but that verb will have different connotations to different people. Continue reading to find out about these differences.

In this article, I will compare bath vs. bathe. I will use each of these words in an example sentence. Plus, I will give you a helpful memory tool to use to help yourself remember whether to use bath or bathe in your own writing.

Origin:

Bath originated from Old English bæth, of Germanic origin; related to Dutch bad and German Bad.

Bath as noun:

Bath is used as a noun in English language where it means a large container for water, used for immersing and washing the body.

The bedrooms have their own bath and shower.

Bath as verb:

Bath is also used as a verb which means to wash (someone) while immersing them in a bath.

I don’t know how to bath a baby.

Use of bathe:

Bathe is a verb. In American English, it has the same meaning of the verb sense of bath. In British English, however, it sometimes means to go swimming, especially in the sea. In both British and American English, it could also mean to pour liquid over something.

Examples:

While on holiday in Greece, the couple bathed in the Mediterranean Sea.

“I’m concerned that the children do not bathe often enough,” said the school nurse.

Kenneth bathed his wounds in alcohol, to prevent infection.

The employees inside were courteous, but would not let us use the rest room sinks to bathe. –The Wall Street Journal

Use of bath:

Bath is a noun that refers to either a large container full of liquid or the process of washing oneself in such a container. In British English, however, bath also acts as a verb, meaning to wash oneself in a container of water. The below sentences are examples.

Examples:

I would love to go cavorting about the countryside with you, but I am going to go home and take a bath instead.

“Darling, go upstairs and run a bath for me,” said the pampered socialite.

You should never use an electric hairdryer while taking a bath.

Behind that Stradivarius je ne sais quoi, the authors of the new paper suggested, was a bath: the lost art of giving violin and cello wood an extended chemical soak. - The Washington Post

Bath or bathe:

Bath and bathe are simple words with a complicated network of meanings. These meanings are rooted in differences in vocabulary between American and British English. In American and British English, a bath is a tub of water. In British English, it can also refer to washing in such a tub. In American, people bathe themselves. In England, people bath themselves. In American English, bathe means to take a bath. In British English, bathe means to swim in the sea. In both language communities, the verb means to douse something in liquid, usually for cleaning purposes. Since the words bathe, sea, and England all contain the letter E, you can use the phrase bathe in the sea in England to remember this usage case for bathe.

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"Bathe vs. Bath." Grammar.com. STANDS4 LLC, 2017. Web. 22 Nov. 2017. <http://www.grammar.com/bathe_vs._bath>.

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