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I was at a wedding reception in Virginia where a meal was being served as a buffet. The guests were seated at tables. A waitperson came to our table, gestured at the buffet line, and told us, “You may board now.” I’m familiar with “board” in the sense of room and board, and boarding (getting meals) at a dormitory or boarding house, but I’ve never heard it in the sense of joining a line for food or serving one’s self at a buffet. My dictionary doesn’t seem to have this sense. (All the food-related senses of board as a verb concern paying for meals with money or service.) Is this a regionalism? Or was the waitperson just stretching the term to include a new meaning?
Does your dictionary mention the use of “side board” as a synonym for “buffet” a a piece of furniture?
The older I get, the more I appreciate the impossibility of any dictionary being complete. that’s not a common usage, but it certainly seems more appropriate to the occasion than telling folks to belly up and chow down.
Deaconb, thanks for your comment. Yes, my dictionary does have “sideboard,” and I know that word.
Glenn, I like the way you used “squints.” It’s creative, and much more metaphorical than the way the waitperson used “board.” Still, both are examples of stretching a word to cover a new use without making it too hard to figure out the intended meaning.
Along with the more common meanings, our 1930 Webster’s shows:
“board, v.t. [F. aborder…] to approach ; accost ; or pay addresses to. obs.