cabin

Definitions

General English

Construction

  • A small, simple hut or house.
  • A rustic shelter often made of logs.

Military

  • noun a room on an aircraft or ship (normally used as living quarters)

Travel

  • noun a wooden hut, used by hunters or skiers, also the sleeping area in a ski chalet
  • noun a separate room for a passenger on a ship
  • noun a separate area for passengers in a plane

Origin & History of “cabin”

English acquired cabin from Old French cabane, which had it via Provençal cabana from late Latin capanna or cavanna ‘hut, cabin’. Surprisingly, despite their formal and semantic similarity, which has grown closer together over the centuries, cabin has no ultimate connection with cabinet (16th c.), whose immediate source is French cabinet (16th c.), whose immediate source is French cabinet ‘small room’. The etymology of the French word is disputed; some consider it to be a diminutive form of Old Northern French cabine ‘gambling house’, while others take it as a borrowing from Italian gabbinetto, which perhaps ultimately comes from Latin cavea ‘stall, coop, cage’ (from which English gets cage). Its modern political sense derives from a 17th-century usage ‘private room in which the sovereign’s advisors or council meet’; the body that met there was thus called the Cabinet Council, which quickly became simply Cabinet.
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