ellesieg (ellesieg) wrote in 1word1day,

Tuesday Word: pantechnicon

The Pantechnicon was a large, Greek-style building that stood in London's Belgrave Square from sometime around 1830 until 1876, when it burned down. It contained a gallery, a furniture shop and a warehouse for storing furniture and other merchandise prior to sale. Special carriages, Pantechnicon vans, were designed for and employed in carting furniture to and from the building. These vans proved so useful that, while retaining their original name, their design was adopted by other businesses. Thus "pantechnicon van," or simply "pantechnicon" in colloquial usage, became a generic term for any large van of the sort used for moving furniture.

Like the Pantechnicon itself, the word "pantechnicon" was created in England but inspired by Greece, in particular (and obviously) the Greek language, with pan meaning "all" and techne meaning "art" or "craft."

I must admit that despite being charmed by the history of this word, I have derived more pleasure from gaining a very impressive-sounding term for a van, as in "I live in a pantechnicon down by the river." I suppose having to open up a wall of my home in order to get sunlight and fresh air would wear on me, but how many vehicle-dwellers have room for a couch?
Tags: english, noun, p, wordsmith: ellesieg

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