toast

A recently reprinted Calvin and Hobbes:

 

The strip exploits the ambiguity of toast as a noun (delightfully, to my mind). But, astonishingly, the two nouns (though clearly quite distinct in modern English, as are the corresponding verbs) have a common historical source. The tale is one of those stories that might make you believe in any damn fanciful etymology.

From NOAD2 on toast:

1 sliced bread browned on both sides by exposure to radiant heat.

2 a call to a gathering of people to raise their glasses and drink together in honor of a person or thing, or an instance of drinking in this way: he raised his glass in a toast to his son.

ORIGIN late Middle English (as a verb in the sense ‘burn as the sun does, parch’): from Old French toster ‘roast,’ from Latin torrere ‘parch.’ The practice of drinking a toast … goes back to the late 17th cent., and originated in naming a lady whose health the company was requested to drink, the idea being that the lady’s name flavored the drink like the pieces of spiced toast that were formerly placed in drinks such as wine.

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