Emails and cupboards
Have you noticed how "e-mail" has now almost universally become "email"?
It's nice to know the more the English language changes, the more it stays the same.
I was reading in Liza Picard's Elizabethan London that a "cupboard" was once a "cup board", i.e. a shelf or a shelves on the wall on which you placed your cups - or rather your silver (or pewter) plate, sometimes with closed doors around them for security.
"The cupboard took a prominent position in any room - so much so that when a member of Gray's Inn misbehaved himself, he was summoned to 'come and appear at the cupboard in the hall' to hear what punishment the Benchers had inflicted on him. The hall was where the Inn's impressive collection of silver symbolised its power over its members." (p.60)
A buffet then also had a different meaning:
"The drinking habits of the time involved the guest calling for a drink every time he felt dry. He was brought wine or beer in a clean - at least rinsed - glass or drinking vessel, from this buffet. When he had swallowed his drink the glass went back to the buffet."
I'm slightly surprised by this; have certainly never read anything like it, in fiction or non-fiction. Aside from anything else, given the quality of the water supplies, this was surely a bad idea on health grounds. Any thoughts?
History, a Technorati tag