Word of The Day for Sunday, March 13, 2011


garde•robe (GAHRD-rohb)  n

1. a wardrobe or its contents
2. a private room, as a bedroom
3. (in medieval architecture) a latrine or privy

1400–50; from Middle English, from Old French, from garder "to watch, guard" + robe "clothing"

Synonyms: wardrobe
Related Words: guard, robe, regard, wardrobe

Sentence Examples:
• He walked slowly to the end of the passage scrutinising every recess and closet door, every garde-robe and wall press from which it was possible that the beast he had seen might have emerged.  -The Black Douglas, S. R. Crockett

• It is lighted by a small slit and has a wooden floor with a trap in it, from which a ladder once descended to the head of the staircase; and at the west side, in the parapet of the aisle, there is a garderobe seat.  -Bell's Cathedrals, Cecil Walter Charles Hallett

• Medieval England wins the gross-out award for its invention of the castle garderobe — a protruding room with a tiny opening out of which royalty would do their business. The garderobe was usually suspended over a moat that collected all manner of human discards, making for a particularly uninviting hurdle for an invading army. -A Brief History of Toilets, Time, 2009

Why This Word:

The term garderobe describes a place where clothes are stored (wardrobe is a related term), but may also be used for places where other items are stored, or euphemistically for historical toilets.

In European public places, a garderobe denotes the cloakroom, but it may also be an alcove or an armoire. In Danish, Dutch, German, and Spanish garderobe can mean a cloakroom. In Latvian it means checkroom.

In its euphemistic meanings, a garderobe is either a close stool or a medieval or Renaissance lavatory or toilet. In a medieval castle or other building, a garderobe usually was a simple hole discharging to the outside. Such toilets were often placed inside a small chamber, leading by association to the use of the term garderobe to describe them. Depending on the structure of the building, garderobes could lead to cess pits or moats. Many can still be seen in Norman and medieval castles and fortifications. They became obsolete with the introduction of indoor plumbing.

Sources: Dictionary.com

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1 comment:

george Stlouismo said...

He walked slowly to the end of the passage scrutinising every recess and closet door..
garde-robe sur mesure

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