"That's a great deal to make one word mean," Alice said in a thoughtful tone. "When I make a word do a lot of work like that," said Humpty Dumpty, "I always pay it extra."

Saturday, 17 October 2009


A buffet was a 16th-century serving or side table, frequently with two or three tiers. In the late 17th and 18th-centuries there were cupboards beneath the serving surface and an elaborate superstructure above.

The word then came to mean a meal set out on a buffet at which guests helped themselves. Nowadays the piece of furniture has disappeared and the word simply refers to the meal at which guests help themselves.

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