Most room names contain room, like

  • bedroom
  • bathroom
  • living room
  • dinning room
  • sunroom

Why kitchen instead of cooking room? :p

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    We also say lounge, hall, study, attic etc. The etymology of English words isn't consistent. – Weather Vane Jun 26 at 18:01
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    A kitchen is a room or part of a room used for cooking and food preparation in a dwelling or in a commercial establishment. The name is derived from the french translation of 'Cooking Room'. en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kitchen – Gio Jun 26 at 18:06
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    Merriam-Webster says "Middle English kichene, from Old English cycene, from Late Latin coquina, from Latin coquere to cook." – Weather Vane Jun 26 at 18:08
  • Nice, thank you for this additional information! – Astrea Jun 26 at 18:16

I am not sure where the idea came from that kitchen is French for "cooking room". That would be salle de cuisine, or possibly salle à cuisiner - neither of which I have ever heard used. The French for "kitchen" is cuisine, which is the same word that means "cooking" (n), and cuire and cuisiner are verbs "to cook".

The word "kitchen" has both Latin and Germanic roots as the following extract from the OED indicates:

Etymology: Old English cycene weak feminine = Old Low German *kukina (Middle Dutch coken(e , koekene , kuekene , Dutch keuken ; Middle Low German kokene , Low German köke(n , kök ; hence Danish kökken , also dialect köken , Swedish kök ), Old High German chuhhîna (Middle High German küche(n , kuche(n , German küche , and obsolete or dialect küch , kuch(e) < vulgar Latin cucīna , cocīna , variant of coquīna , < coquĕre to cook v.1 Of the Middle English forms, those in y, i were originally midland and northern; those in u southern and especially s.w., with ü = Old English y; those in e partly Kentish with e for Old English y, partly northern and midl. with e widened < i.

  • 3
    Nitpicking: the word doesn’t have Germanic roots as such. It’s a Latin word which was borrowed into an early stage of West Germanic, whence it developed more or less regularly into the modern form. So its roots are Latin, but it’s gone through various later developments once it entered West Germanic and later on English. – Janus Bahs Jacquet Jun 26 at 19:22
  • @JanusBahsJacquet Yes. I think I did realise that, but I'm afraid my knowledge of the history of Indo-European language does not extend nearly far enough to pick out German and Latin etymologies. – WS2 Jun 26 at 20:57
  • @JanusBahsJacquet It's like saying that leafy rocket (aka arugula) has both French and Italian roots because the original Italian word took a long holiday in France en route to England. :) – tchrist Jun 28 at 3:07

kitchen Etymonline

"room in which food is cooked, part of a building fitted out for cooking," c. 1200, from Old English cycene "kitchen," from Proto-Germanic *kokina (source also of Middle Dutch cökene, Old High German chuhhina, German Küche, Danish kjøkken), probably borrowed from Vulgar Latin *cocina (source also of French cuisine, Spanish cocina), a variant of Latin coquina "kitchen," from fem. of coquinus "of cooks," from coquus "cook," from coquere "to cook."


Actually, cook rooms are (were?) a thing. The Oxford English Dictionary dates the expression to 1553, meaning galley:

The cooke roome, and all other places to be kept cleane.

Kitchen is a much older word, dating back to Old English. And the five “-room” words listed in the question are from later, with the earliest one showing up about 1600.

(A good question would be why were these “-room” words coined when we already had perfectly good words like “bedchamber”. But language is like that a lot, just not with kitchen being replaced by something ending in “-room”.)

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