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My Oxford Advanced Learner's Dictionary has the following example sentence:

You can buy the kitchen as a flat-pack for self-assembly.

How could one buy a kitchen? It doesn't make much sense to me. The kitchen is a cooking place and is supposed to be part of a house, apartment, etc. and not sold separately.

  • Looking at the title, I really thought this was going to be a spam post. – IQAndreas Jan 9 '14 at 3:10
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    Is there really any country on this planet where you really can’t buy a kitchen? I find that very hard to believe. This is not about the English language, it's about living under a rock… on Mars! – Janus Bahs Jacquet Jan 9 '14 at 3:24
  • I come from a culture where kitchens, houses, etc. are more likely to be made of concrete, not wood. – Apollyon Jan 9 '14 at 3:35
  • I must echo Janus Bahs Jacquet's observation, even if the OP is used to kitchens being made of concrete I find it difficult to believe that he has never seen a typical Canadian, American, European, Asian or Australian kitchen in films, on TV, in magazines, or on the Internet. Never visited a furniture store that also sold kitchen units? – Mari-Lou A Jan 9 '14 at 8:15
  • What do you mean by 'kitchen units'? Stuff like cupboards and cabinets? OF course I have seen them, but I didn't know they can be called 'kitchen' for short. For me, 'kitchen' is basically a cooking place. How could one buy a place to the exclusion of the other parts of a house, apartment, etc.? – Apollyon Jan 9 '14 at 9:01
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Here, kitchen is referring to the shelves, etc., that would normally go in the room we call a "kitchen." In the US, this is often would include the stove/oven combination, but it can also refer to shelving specific to kitchens.

Note the following definition from google supplied at the top of the search results:

a room or area where food is prepared and cooked.

a set of fixtures, cabinets, and appliances that are sold together and installed in a room where food is prepared.

"a complete kitchen at a bargain price"

Thus, here they mean the kit that composes what you need to turn a space into a kitchen room.

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  • @Susan, Edited accordingly. – virmaior Jan 9 '14 at 5:37
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Camp Kitchen

enter image description here

More images at this link.

Also, if you are familiar with the home furnishing store IKEA, you know their products are sold in flat-packs for self-assembly. See this article, "Faith's Kitchen Renovation: 5 Things We Learned While Buying an IKEA Kitchen" and the follow-on article "How We Assembled and Installed Our IKEA Kitchen".

enter image description here

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I do not think that ovens are flat packed. In the quote the kitchen is much more likely to be the room itself, presumably with a countertop, cabinets and maybe a pantry. Think of a kit from Ikea. Outside the U.S. many people create everything from the floor up, including the floor, from flat-packed kits and take it all with them when they move.

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  • How could one buy a room, e.g. a kitchen, to the exclusion of other parts of an apartment? How could a room be sold in a 'flat-pack'? Obviously, 'kitchen' in this context refers to equipment necessary to convert a place into a kitchen, not a kitchen itself. – Apollyon Jan 9 '14 at 9:11
  • @Apollyon a kitchen without appliances, fixtures, cupboards etc. is just a room like any other. When newlyweds buy a home, usually the rooms are unfurnished and they will set out "to buy": a kitchen, a bedroom, a bathroom and so on, they are not buying the rooms of a house. It's just quicker to say that than to say; kitchen appliances, a sink, a kitchen island, counters, chairs and a table. What do people in Taiwan say instead? – Mari-Lou A Jan 9 '14 at 19:36
  • We say the equivalent of kitchen, bathroom, etc. equipment in Chinese – Apollyon Jan 10 '14 at 7:21
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At one time, you could buy a flat-pack house from Sears; and you can can still buy a flat pack house (but I don't think my local Sears keeps them in stock).

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