Friday, 18 September 2009
We speakers of English borrowed the word "armoire" from the French, who got it from Latin, armârium, chest, from arma, tools. This large wooden chest, almost always equipped with two doors, was originally used to store arms and armor. The word, which sometimes denoted a cupboard set into the paneling of a room, was probably first used in the 16th century, when detailed carving based on Flemish design was characteristic of fine examples. In the following century geometric designs in high relief became more common; also, in the 17th century the name was extended to cover wardrobes and clothespresses.