Boot
Posted: 25 August 2011 07:19 AM   [ Ignore ]
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Languagehat’s incidental reference to boot in the Colour thread gave me to ponder just why the rear space in a car should be known by that term in the UK. OED (relevant entries boot, n.3, 4b and 4c) supplies the answer, buried in one of the cites.

4 b. An uncovered space on or by the steps on each side, where attendants sat, facing sideways; later, a low outside compartment before or behind the body of the vehicle. Obs.

1816 Scott Old Mortality ii, in Tales of my Landlord 1st Ser. II. 37 A chaplain, stuffed into a sort of lateral recess, formed by a projection at the door of the vehicle, and called, from its appearance, the boot.

c.  The receptacle for luggage or parcels under the seats of the guard and coachman. (This appears to have been the fore and hind boot of sense 4b, covered in as a box, ? about the middle of the 18th c.) Now the ordinary name for the luggage compartment usu. at the rear of a motor vehicle. Also attrib.

I’ve been trying to find an image of an old coach with such projections, I can’t really picture them. No luck but at least I now know why a boot’s a boot.

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Posted: 25 August 2011 03:25 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1 ]
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This link may shed some light:

[exerpt]:

Box/Boot:
The part of the carriage supporting the driver’s seat. Later carriages had the boot framed into the body proper and the term became associated with a leather covered box placed under the drivers seat.

[Note:
In the image, the term ‘skeleton boot’ is used.  Search the link for ‘boot’--the image is slightly above one of the last two, about 90% down the page]

[ Edited: 25 August 2011 03:31 PM by sobiest ]
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Posted: 25 August 2011 07:23 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 2 ]
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Another link here of possible interest…

[excerpt from link (search the link for “boot,” three down, et seq.]:

Boot Term having a variety of meanings in carriage use:
(1) Originally, it was applied to a box, on the front or rear of a vehicle, that carried luggage.
(2) Eventually, it came to be applied to the support for some driving seats.
(3) On certain types of farm wagons it was a small box projecting beyond the rear of the body serving as a place to stand while shoveling grain, etc.

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Posted: 25 August 2011 11:56 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 3 ]
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An interesting and versatile word. You’re right, aldi, the boot as you describe it is a very elusive piece of equipment indeed. I can’t find one either. What’s a boot called in the USA? I think I’ve heard “trunk”. “Trunk” (another versatile word) is what my dictionary proposes.

Differences in left- and rightpondian usage can create amusing cross-purposes. When I visited my brother in Vancouver (BC) many years ago, and told him I’d left my muffler on the plane, he asked “why do you travel with auto parts?”

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Posted: 26 August 2011 02:25 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 4 ]
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Yes, trunk.

Slightly off-topic, but I doubt if I’ll find a better place for it: the Mexican drug wars have strangely enriched the Spanish language, and given it encajuelado, which means a body found in the boot of a car, which is cajuela in Mexican Spanish. There is also encobijado, a body found wrapped in blankets.

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Posted: 26 August 2011 03:00 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 5 ]
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Etymonline.com says “booty” in the sense of human rear end derived from “boot”, in the sense of “profit, use”.  And here I’d always thought it derived from “butt”, the shortened form of buttocks.

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Posted: 26 August 2011 04:12 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 6 ]
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Booty was just covered in the 1926 words. The origin of the sexual sense is uncertain. The OED says “probably” from botty, which in turn is from bottom, but it was almost certainly influenced by a number of other words, including booty meaning loot.

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Posted: 26 August 2011 07:06 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 7 ]
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The Japanese use boneto (bonnet)and tarunko (trunk) one Japanese man told me, not realising they were Brit and US.

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Posted: 26 August 2011 02:34 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 8 ]
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’bonnet’ == ‘hood’ in (my particular) leftpondia;

likewise, ‘boot’ == ‘trunk’

There is also a somewhat interesting distinction in upper-mid-left-leftpondia vs. upper-right-leftpondia (again, my particular leftpondias) concerning the name for the (usually small) compartment in the ‘dashboard’ of the ‘car’ to the right of the ‘driver’s side’ (usually, but sometimes in the middle of the ‘dash’ in ‘sports-cars’): 

upper-mid-left-leftpondia == ‘jockey box’

vs.

upper-right-leftpondia == ‘glove compartment’ or ‘glove-box’

Wikipedia link here.

The first time or two I heard ‘jockey box’ I had almost no clue that it was actually what I had called a ‘glove compartment.’ I initially thought it was the box containing road flares, chains, and other safety accessories.

[ Edited: 26 August 2011 02:42 PM by sobiest ]
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Posted: 26 August 2011 04:28 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 9 ]
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I grew up in NYC, and have never heard or read the term jockey box.

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Posted: 26 August 2011 05:10 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 10 ]
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I don’t think “upper-mid-left-leftpondia” includes NYC.  More like Butte or Boise.

[ Edited: 26 August 2011 05:13 PM by Dr. Techie ]
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Posted: 26 August 2011 07:39 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 11 ]
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Perhaps this will help in visualizing the boot image.

Think of a pair of black boots set back to back with the toes pointing out. 
The front of the carriage is one toe, the back of the carriage is the other. 

The boot is also often merely a platform which when filled with trunks and luggage takes on the shape of a boot.

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Posted: 27 August 2011 03:04 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 12 ]
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I didn’t think NYC was part of upper-mid-left-leftpondia. But occasionally the quaint locutions of those who grew up in cruder climes managed to reach one’s ear or particularly eye, if they made it into print.

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Posted: 27 August 2011 05:37 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 13 ]
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Perhaps this will help in visualizing the boot image.

Think of a pair of black boots set back to back with the toes pointing out.
The front of the carriage is one toe, the back of the carriage is the other. 

You need to reread aldi’s original post; the term does not refer to the entire carriage but specifically to an early form of luggage compartment that projected from it.

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