lumber room


a storeroom

STATISTICS

IN THE PRESS

They gave us a room that clearly had been a LUMBER ROOM before.

(TripAdvisor online travel portal)

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A man should keep his little brain attic stocked with all the furniture he is likely to use, and the rest he can put away in the LUMBER ROOM of his library, where he can get it if he wants.

(The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes: "The Five Orange Pips")

Did you
know?

lumber room
noun phrase

- a room where disused or bulky things (like furniture) are kept

(Oxford English Dictionaries)

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Lumber room is a chiefly British expression for a room used to store pieces of furniture and other objects no longer in use. Americans typically refer it to as the attic, although this implies space under the roof of the house. In the 19th century lumber rooms were more often found in the homes of wealthy Britains who frequently kept old furniture when it was replaced.

The noun "lumber" is American English for "timber," which refers to wood that is sawn into rough planks. In the 16th century lumber referred to "disused pieces of furniture or heavy, useless objects," which probably stemmed from the verb "to lumber" (to move slowly and awkwardly). The Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary from 1913 says it once commonly referred to old, unused items that are bulky or of a small value.

In the 1828 edition, it also referred to a pile of disordered items. You could "lumber" a room by filling it with such items. In modern usage, "lumber room" can be used figuratively to mean an unorganized collection of objects or ideas.

Some linguists suggest that lumber may also have been influenced by the Lombard, from the Italian immigrants famous as pawnbrokers and money-lenders in England. Lumbar and Lumbard were old alternative forms of Lombard in English. The theory is that this sense evolved because a lumber house (pawn shop) naturally accumulates odds and ends of furniture.

(source: Oxford English Dictionaries)

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SMUGGLE OWAD into today's conversation

"There is an extra dining room chair in the lumber room."

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Thanks to Volker for suggesting today's word!

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