Word Origins

Have you ever thought, as I often do, about the job titles of your servants (‘Maid’, ‘Valet’, ‘Personal Masseuse’ etc) and wondered about the origin of the different words?

I came across a simple but interesting example just recently. In Ye Olde Days,


Ye Olde Days








a servant was in charge of the wine bottles. Actually, mine don’t hang around long enough to need anyone in charge of them, but if they did he would have been known as the Bottler, from the French bouteilier.

I was prompted to delve into this when I was looking (in a purely professional way) at my butler, Ivana, as she poured my morning cup of tea.

My butler, Ivana

My butler, Ivana, waiting for her wages. I’ve told her to put in her request with more more subtlety and decorum, at least when we have guests, but there’s currently a language issue.


I know butlers are traditionally men, but I don’t hold with such gender stereotypes and I secured her services from a particular specialist website that was running a special offer on its subscription charges. She didn’t actually know anything about butling, but after a quick crash course on the subject (as I prefer it to be performed) we were up and running.




Where was I?

Oh yes, so bouteilier, if you hadn’t already guessed, is we get the word ‘butler’ from!



About ramblesofawriter

Writer, thinker, tea drinker.
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