It should come as no surprise that many of our automotive vocabulary words actually have their origins in the days of wagons and carriages…and one such word is dashboard.

What was a dashboard originally? Well, dating from 1846 (and originally hyphenated dash-board), this word was used to describe the literal board or leather apron at the front of a vehicle that was meant to prevent mud from “dashing” up over the wheels and onto the driver/occupants. Yep…a mudflap of sorts!

So how did it come to be “a panel at the front of a vehicle on which guages are mounted”? Mere proximity to the front seat, it seems. Our dashboards certainly have nothing to do with restraining mud, but the word was borrowed by the automotive industry as early as 1904!

Word Nerds Unite!

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