Online Encyclopedia

CONCIERGE (a French word of unknown o...

Online Encyclopedia
Originally appearing in Volume V06, Page 827 of the 1911 Encyclopedia Britannica.
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CONCIERGE (a French word of unknown origin; the Latinized form was concergius ar concergerius), originally the guardian of a house or castle, in the middle ages a court official who was the custodian of a royal palace. In Paris, when the Palais de la Cite ceased about 1360 to be a royal residence and became the seat of the courts of justice, the Conciergerie was turned into a prison. In modern usage a " concierge " is a hall-porter or janitor.
End of Article: CONCIERGE (a French word of unknown origin; the Latinized form was concergius ar concergerius)
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Additional information and Comments

Hi, I would like to submit my definition of the origin of the word 'concierge'. I understand it to come from two french words, namely, 'compte' meaning roughly 'keeper' or caretaker, and 'cierges' meaning 'candles' or flames. In the middle ages in the prisons, someone was appointed the job of lighting the wall torches to light the way after dark, and subdequently in the morning it was his job to extinquish the torches or candles; hence, le compte du cierges, meaning 'the keeper of the candles'. Over the years the job description was given to anyone who attended to lighting and extinquishing candles in any large household or other establishment. Later when this same job description was given to someone who oversaw lighting in hotels, the two names became one name, and 'concierge' was a attached to this position and over the years it has been generally accepted as meaning someone in charge of the general running of hotels. This is my understanding of the origin of this word, but I am open to further enlightenment if this is wrong. Thank you. John Gordon.
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