Online Encyclopedia

LOBBY

Online Encyclopedia
Originally appearing in Volume V16, Page 836 of the 1911 Encyclopedia Britannica.
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LOBBY, a corridor or passage, also any apartment serving as an ante-room, waiting room or entrance hall in a building. The Med. Lat. lobia, laubia or lobium, from which the word was directly adapted, was used in the sense of a cloister, gallery or covered place for walking attached to a house, as defined by Du Cange (Gloss. Med. et Inf. Lat., s.v. Lobia), porticus operta ad spatiandum idonea, aedibus adjuncta. The French form of lobia was loge, cf. Ital. loggia, and this gave the Eng. " lodge," which is thus a doublet of " lobby." The ultimate derivation is given under LODGE. Other familiar uses of the term "lobby" are its application (I) to the entrance hall of a parliament house, and (2) to the two corridors known as " division-lobbies," into which the members of the House of Commons and other legislative bodies pass on a division, their votes being recorded according to which "lobby," "aye" or "no," they enter. The entrance lobby to a legislative building is open to the public, and thus is a convenient place for interviews between members and their constituents or with representatives of public bodies, associations and interests, and the press. The influence and pressure thus brought to bear upon members of legislative bodies has given rise to the use of "to lobby," "lobbying," "lobbyist," &c., with this special significance. The practice, though not unknown in the British parliament, is most prevalent in the United States of America, where the use of the term first arose (see below).
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