Laboratory - lavatory
The noun laboratory is pronounced in British English with the stress on the second syllable, and the following syllables very much telescoped: 'lab-ORR-e-t(e)r-i', IPA: /lə 'bɒ rə tə rɪ/; in GA, the stress is on the first syllable, and the final two syllables are much more clearly articulated: 'LAB-re-to-ry', /'læb rə ,tɔː rɪ/. The British pronunciation, which seems to have been first recorded in 1895, may have been influenced by the desire to distinguish it from 'lavatory' ('LAV-er-t(e)r-i', /'læ və tə rɪ/), then the common word among the educated for what is now usually 'the toilet', or in America 'the bathroom', an even deeper euphemism.
- The common colloquial abbreviation for laboratory, lab, can also be mis-heard for a common colloquialism for lavatory - lav. (The final consonant in both, which they share with the consonants in similar positions in the two parent words, is a labial, and hence phonetically similar.)
- Laboratory is also one of the 117 mis-spellings listed as 'Common difficulties' in the section on 'Spelling' within 'Writing' in UEfAP.