One of my historical writer friends asked about canteens a little while ago (namely, what they would have called them before they were canteens), which inspired me to look up the word.

Canteen is from the French cantine, which means “sutler’s shop.” Which I had to look up, LOL. Turns out a sutler is a person who maintains a store for the army, either by following them with provisions or having a shop within a camp. In this sense, the word entered English  in 1710. There’s speculation that it’s a sense of the Latin canto, which means “corner”–that it’s a corner for storage.

The familiar sense of “container to carry water” evolved by 1744, also from a sense in the French, and used mainly by the military still, or campers. People on the move. The extended-from-the-first-definition sense of it being a “refreshment room on a campus or base” is from 1870.

Somewhat appropriate word choice today, as we’ll be traveling to Johns Hopkins for the last (hopefully) follow-up appointment for the elbow my little girl broke back in May. Prayers appreciated!

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