Cellar or Basement?

When I was young, every house had a cellar, not a basement, but, as common as the term was, “cellar” has disappeared. Every home had steps leading from the kitchen down to the cellar.  Basement?  What’s that? Nobody I knew had a “basement.”

A cellar is technically an underground storage area for a specific item, so we have a “wine cellar,” a “root cellar,” and a “coal cellar.” Suburban homes were too far from the country to store roots, and too far from the city to store wine, but we did store coal. We simply called it a “cellar,” but once homes changed over to oil or gas heat (a big improvement), the term “cellar” gradually became “basement.”  You could build a rumpus-room in a basement, but not in a cellar.

(See the posting of December 13, 2007, describing the excitement of a coal delivery.)

RWalck@Verizon.net

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About Roger Walck

My reasons for writing this blog are spelled out in the posting of 10/1/2012, Montaigne's Essays. They are probably not what you think.
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