Online Encyclopedia

BOOT

Online Encyclopedia
Originally appearing in Volume V04, Page 238 of the 1911 Encyclopedia Britannica.
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BOOT. (I) (From the O. Eng. bot, a word common to Teutonic languages, e.g. Goth. bola, " good, advantage," O.H.G. Buoza, Mod. Ger. Busse, " penance, fine "; cf. " better," the comparative of " good "), profit or advantage. The word survives in " bootless," i.e. useless or unavailing, and in such expressions, chiefly archaistic, as " what boots it?" " Bote," an old form, survives in some old compound legal words, such as " housebote," " fire-bote," " hedge-bote," &c., for particular rights of " estover," the Norman French word corresponding to the Saxon " bote " (see ESTOVERS and COMMONS). The same form survives also in such expressions as " thief-bote " for the Old English customary compensation paid for injuries. (2) (A word of uncertain origin, which came into English through the O. Fr. bole, modern bone; Med. Lat. bona or bola), a covering for the foot. Properly a boot covers the whole lower part of the leg, sometimes reaching to or above the knee, but in common usage it is applied to one which reaches only above the ankle, and is thus distinguished from " shoe " (see COSTUME and SHOE). The " boot " of a coach has the same derivation. It was originally applied to the fixed outside step, the French botte, then to the uncovered spaces on or beside the step on which the attendants sat facing sideways. Both senses are now obsolete, the term now being applied to the covered receptacles under the seats of the guard and coachman.
End of Article: BOOT
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