If you were to say the noun console to me, my first thoughts would be about computer screens and video game controllers. However, before those definitions existed, the word referred to a type of ornamental cabinet that was used to hold radio, stereo, and television electronics. That meaning comes from an earlier sense of "body of a musical organ", the connection being that it was a large wooden thing encasing some kind of control mechanism. Before that, a console was a kind of wall-mounted table and, earlier still, a type of ornamental bracket used to support walls. This and our verb console are thought to both come from the Old French verb consoler ("to comfort"; the idea was that the human-shaped cornices on the brackets looked like they were comforting the ceiling. Finally, consoler traces to Latin com- ("with", from Proto-Indo-European kom, "beside") and solari (also "to comfort", from Proto-Indo-European solh, "mercy").
Hello! I'm Adam Aleksic, a senior studying government and linguistics at Harvard University, where I co-founded the Harvard Undergraduate Linguistics Society. In addition to etymology, I also really enjoy trivia, politics, vexillology, geography, board games, conlanging, art history, and law.