General Question

syz's avatar

Does the word "kitchen" seem odd to you?

Asked by syz (35649points) June 10th, 2009

I’ve read that it evolved from the Latin for “to cook”, but it just seems so odd…... The room that contains a bed is a “bedroom”, the room that contains a bathtub is the “bathroom”, the room that you spend time in is the “living room”, the place that you eat is the “dining room” – all literal and descriptive. Why didn’t it become the “cook room” or the “food room”?

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22 Answers

MissAusten's avatar

This is crazy—my four year old asked me just this morning why the kitchen is called the kitchen. Wierd. And I’m not trying to imply that you have the mind of a four year old!

applesaucemanny's avatar

Yeah I’ve always wondered the same thing but bathrooms don’t always have a bathtub…

syz's avatar

Well, I suppose some people call it “the shitter”.

DarkScribe's avatar

Well it has seven letters – that’s odd.

ragingloli's avatar

add a t and you get “kittchen” a german slang term for jail

casheroo's avatar

@applesaucemanny Because that’s a “powder room”

Jeruba's avatar

No, but I see its relationship to the German kuchen (“to cook”) and Küche (kitchen) and the French cuisine, “cooking; culinary art; kitchen”; ultimately from Latin coquere, “to cook.” They’re all part of the same family.

Words that follow different evolutionary paths from different sources rarely end up exactly parallel. There is also the fact that in many or most cultures a separate place for a smoky cooking fire was set aside long before there were separate places for sleeping, dining, bathing, and “living” (aren’t you living in all those other rooms?).

Harp's avatar

According to this article, “kitchen” has a much earlier origin than the names of our other rooms. The first occurrences of a similar word (cycene and kycenan) in Old English date from around 1000 A.D. By contrast, the earliest citation of “bedroom” was from Shakespeare in 1590, of “dining room” in 1601, of “bathroom” in 1780, and of “living room” in 1825.

So when “kitchen” was coined, English was far closer to its Germanic and Latin roots.

arnbev959's avatar

The word kitchen would seem odd to me even if it had the recognizable English meaning that words like ‘dining room’ and ‘bathroom’ have. It’s an all-around weird word.

Jeruba's avatar

Pick any word and say it a bunch of times, or type it and make it repeat dozens of times, and it looks and sounds weird. The very idea of words is pretty funny when you start to think about it. But don’t, or your tongue will get all tangled up and then they really will sound weird.

susanc's avatar

jeruba jeruba jeruba jeruba jeruba jeruba jeruba hee hee jeruba jeruba jeruba je.. hee hee.. jerbuba jebuba jerubrajerubajeruhhhhhaaaaahahahahahaha! you’re right! ha ha ha ha
jerubububujerruuu oh I can’t stand it any more hahahhee hee hee

Jack79's avatar

It’s also interesting in its form, since it starts with a K and ends in -en like “children” and “oxen”, except that those are plurals and “kitchen” is singular, ie we don’t say “one kitch-two kitchen”. It is of course possible that it could have derived from something like that, in the same sense that nobody here except Jeruba knows the singular of “dice”. Just a wild guess though.

And of course, even though ragingloli was joking, it is possible that it comes from some german word originally meaning “small kit” where “kit” could have meant anything from “cook room” to “larder”. Or even “cell(ar)”.

Buttonstc's avatar

So, Jeruba and I are the the only two entities on Fluther who realize that if you lose one of your pair of dice, you then only have one die??

There may be some folk from the other side of the pond who may dispute that, however as dice is used for both singular and plural in the British Isles.

But, we have a sticky situation, in comparing it to words of similar form, which gives rise to the little couplet:


A piece of cheese the size of a die

Can bait the trap for a nibbling mie…..

or something to that effect.

I also assume that there are plenty of folks around here who are aware of the phrase “the die is cast”......?


Jack79's avatar

“mie” could have actually been right, since the word derives from Greek “mys” which incidentally is the root word for “muscle”. The plural for both was “myes”

morphail's avatar

@Jack79 “mouse” is not derived from Greek. It’s from Old English “mus”, plural “mys”.

Jack79's avatar

I think one can safely assume that if a word appears in English in 1230 AD and Greek in 2300 BC, that it probably came from Greek originally, like most modern words (usually either directly, through Latin or through German). Not only obvious words such as “butter” but even typical Germanic words such as “butcher” and “stand” come from Greek. Which in turn probably took them from Sanskrit.

morphail's avatar

Where are you getting this information? You need more evidence than “the Greek word is attested earlier”. English “mouse/mice” is derived from Old English “mus/mys”, which is not borrowed from Greek because it exhibits the i-mutation in the plural characteristic of some Germanic nouns (also found in “foot/feet”, “man/men”, “louse/lice”, etc.) Greek does not have this. Also, the OED tells us that “mouse” is cognate with, but not borrowed from, Greek “mus”, and they tend to know what they’re talking about.

“butter” was borrowed from Latin, which borrowed it from Greek. “butcher” goes back to Old French “boc” (goat). “stand” is of Germanic origin.

Jack79's avatar

oh I’m just making it all up

I just don’t think that it’s a mere coincidence that it’s “mus/mys” and “mys/myes” in Greek, rather than, say “arotron”. Or that “stand” comes from “stehen” which in turn comes from “istamai”. Yes, some of the connections are vague, but they are thousands of years old, and often just 1–2 original letters remain.

morphail's avatar

alrighty then.

You’re right, it’s not a coincidence. “mouse” looks similar to Greek “mus” and “stand” look similar to Greek “istamai” not because the English words are borrowed or derived from the Greek (they aren’t) but because English and Greek are both Indo-European languages.

ultimo_m's avatar

Hi, i am sorry to disappoint you but the origin of word kitchen is from the old Albanian language and Albanian language gives this word the true meaning => “kitchen” = “the place where you boil”, (kuzhinë = ku-zien), Albanian language is an Indo-European language. Greetings from Albania!!

morphail's avatar

@ultimo_m Of course that is not true.

ragingloli's avatar

Everyone knows the kitchen is derived from “kittchen”, german for “prison”. And of course, the kitchen is the place where you imprison the wives.

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