What exactly is "board" in reference to "room and board"?

@foxyfire33 (10009)
United States
March 27, 2007 10:26am CST
Anyone know the actual meaning behind this phrase? I know "room and board" means providing the room and meals so what is "board"? If you are a boarder it means you have use of a room so wouldn't that be covered under "room". I'm guessing "board" refers to meals maybe but I don't know HOW it means that. Anyone familiar with how this phrase came about and what the term "board" means in it?
1 response
@Modestah (11192)
• United States
27 Mar 07
that IS curious isn't it? My child is a boarder at a private school, it does happen to include his meals. I always thought that the "Board" referred to sustanance, as you mentioned the food. Then there is always the school BOARD, what does that mean? Going up against the BOARD. Okay, there is this: Definitions of board 1. [n] - a stout length of sawn timber 2. [n] - a committee having supervisory powers 3. [n] - food or meals in general 4. [n] - a flat portable surface (usually rectangular) designed for board games 5. [n] - a flat piece of material designed for a special purpose 6. [v] - live and take one's meals (in a certain place) 7. [v] - get on board of (trains, buses, ships, aircraft, etc.) 8. [v] - lodge and take meals (at) 9. [v] - provide food and lodging (for)
@foxyfire33 (10009)
• United States
27 Mar 07
Definitions 3,6,8, and 9 fit the phrase so we must be on the right track. Maybe "board" originally referred to the table? As in food was placed on the "side board" for people in rooming houses so "room and board" was provided. I'm glad I'm not the only one to think this is a little curious!
@Modestah (11192)
• United States
1 Apr 07
woooo. I think you might have it there! that makes perfect sense. Such things are interesting...I find etymology to be fascinating. thank you for the B.R. rating.