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Seattle University

Answer Me This

What do you call that thing that’s located to the right of the water fountains in the Fitness Center?

September 27, 2011

The water fountain's strange buddy

Q:  What do you call that thing that’s located to the right of the water fountains in the Fitness Center? 

A:  SU’s brilliant, new William F. Eisiminger Fitness Center houses world-class weights and cardio equipment, spacious accommodations for classes like yoga and zumba, modern and attractive locker rooms, incredible pieces of artwork and a sweeping view of Championship Field.  

And then of course, there’s that stainless steel contraption we often see paired with a drinking fountain—what is that thing called, anyway?  

Well, it actually has a very dignified-sounding name: “cuspidor.” Its purpose is perhaps less dignified, but very important, nonetheless. "Essentially, a cuspidor is a place for an individual to spit, which is separate from the water fountain for sanitary reasons,” explains Derek Hottell, director of University Recreation. “Because individuals may build excessive saliva while exercising and/or want to rinse their mouth with water, but not swallow, fitness facilities normally have these. We have them in the Fitness Center and the existing Connolly Center also has several stationed throughout the building.” 

Hottell says that technically you could also refer to the unit as a “spittoon.” But that wouldn’t be very dignified, would it?