Etymology
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banquet (n.)
late 15c., "feast, sumptuous entertainment," from Old French banquet "feast," earlier simply "small bench," from Old Italian banchetto, diminutive of banco "bench," variant of banca "bench," which is from a Germanic source (see bench (n.)). Apparently originally "a snack eaten on a bench" (rather than at table), hence "a slight repast between meals;" if so, the meaning has entirely changed.
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banquet (v.)
"to feast," c. 1500, from banquet (n.). Related: Banqueted; banqueting.
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menu (n.)

1837, "detailed list of dishes to be served at a banquet or meal," from French menu de repas "list of what is served at a meal," from French menu (adj.) "small, detailed" (11c.), from Latin minutus "small," literally "made smaller," past participle of minuere "to diminish," from root of minus "to diminish" (from PIE root *mei- (2) "small"). Computer sense of "list of options displayed on a screen" is by 1967, from the expanded sense of "any detailed list," which is attested by 1889.

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encomium (n.)

"discriminating expression of approval, formal praise or laudation of a person or thing," 1580s, from Late Latin encomium, from Greek enkōmion (epos) "laudatory (ode) to a conquer or eulogy or panegyric on a living person," neuter of enkōmios "belonging to the praise or reward of a conqueror; proper to the Bacchic revel, in which the victor was led home in procession with music, dancing, and merriment," from en "in" (see en- (2)) + komos "banquet, procession, merrymaking" (see comedy).

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junket (n.)
late 14c., jonket, "basket in which fish are caught or carried," from Medieval Latin iuncata "rush basket," perhaps from Latin iuncus "rush" (see jonquil). The English word shifted meaning by 1520s to "feast, banquet," probably via the notion of a picnic basket; this led to extended sense of "pleasure trip" (1814), and then to "tour by government official at public expense for no discernible public benefit" (by 1886, American English).

Compare Italian cognate giuncata "cream cheese-like dish" (so called because originally made or served on a bed of rushes); Middle English jonket also had this sense, which survived longer in dialects. Johnson (1755) also records a verb junket "to feast secretly; to make entertainments by stealth."
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banquette (n.)
"raised platform in a fortification," 1620s, from French banquette (15c.), from Italian banchetta, diminutive of banca "bench, shelf," which is from Germanic (see bank (n.1)).
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standing (n.)

late 14c., verbal noun from stand (v.). In the sense of "rank, status," it is first recorded 1570s. Sense of "state of having existed for some time" is 1650s. Legal sense is first recorded 1924. Sports sense is from 1881. To be in good standing is from 1789. Standing room is from 1788, originally in reference to theaters. SRO for "standing room only" is attested by 1890.

A young gentleman attempting to get into Drury-lane play-house, found there was such a croud of people that there was no room. Just without the door, a damsel of the town accosted him with 'can't you get in, sir?' to which he replied in the negative. 'If you'll go along with me, resumed she you may get in very easily, for I can furnish you with very good standing room.' ["The Banquet of Wit, or A Feast for the Polite World," London, 1790]
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dead (adj.)

Middle English ded, from Old English dead "having ceased to live," also "torpid, dull;" of water, "still, standing," from Proto-Germanic *daudaz (source also of Old Saxon dod, Danish død, Swedish död, Old Frisian dad, Middle Dutch doot, Dutch dood, Old High German tot, German tot, Old Norse dauðr, Gothic dauþs "dead"), a past-participle adjective based on *dau-, which is perhaps from PIE *dheu- (3) "to die" (see die (v.)).

Meaning "insensible, void of perception" is from early 13c. Of places, "inactive, dull," from 1580s. Of sound, "muffled," 1520s. Used from 16c. as "utter, absolute, quite" (as in dead drunk, 1590s); from 1590s as "quite certain, sure, unerring;" by 1881 as "direct, straight." Dead heat, a race in which more than one competitor reaches the goal at the same time, is from 1796. The dead-nettle (c. 1400) resembles the nettle but does not sting.

Dead on is 1889, from marksmanship. Dead duck "person defeated or soon to be, useless person" is by 1844, originally in U.S. politics. Dead letter is from 1703, used of laws lacking force as well as uncollected mail. Dead soldier "emptied liquor bottle" is from 1913; the image is older (compare dead men "bottles emptied at a banquet," c. 1700). Dead man's hand in poker, "pair of aces and pair of eights," is supposedly what Wild Bill Hickock held when Jack McCall shot him in 1876. Expression not be (seen/found/caught) dead "have nothing to do with" is by 1915.

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cover (n.)
Origin and meaning of cover

mid-14c., "something laid, placed or spread (on something else),"  from cover (v.). Sense of "something which veils or screens from sight" is from c. 1400. From c. 1500 as "shelter" of any kind, later especially in hunting, "shrubbery, brush, or thickets which conceal game" (1719).

Meaning "binding or wrapper of a book" is from 1590s; that of "envelope or wrapper for a letter" is by 1748. Meaning "recording of a song already recorded by another" is by 1970, short for cover version (1966). Cover-band "band that plays only cover songs" is by 1981. Cover girl is U.S. slang from 1915, shortening of magazine-cover girl (1899).

Cover-charge is attested by 1913. The immediate sense of cover in it appears to be the old one of "plate, knives, forks, spoons, napkin, wine glasses, etc., used at the table by one person," from French couvert, literally "a cover," in the same sense; supposedly they were so called because they were originally brought together in a case.

According to contemporary publications, cover came to include table condiments and bread and butter, and c. 1910 some restaurants began to charge extra for these. ["... a smart New York restauranteur recently made a 'cover charge' of twenty-five cents for bread and butter and ice-water. Others followed." - Edward Hungerford, "The Personality of American Cities," 1913]

In this sense, cover also probably involves the banquet service use of cover for a charge which includes ("covers") everything provided with the food — menu card, flowers, music, etc.

In recent years hotels, particularly those featuring entertainment in their restaurants, have made a so-called cover charge which includes entertainment in addition to the table service. For instance, at some of the larger hotels in New York, where there is dancing, or cabaret, or high-priced soloists, or entertainment of costly nature provided, there is a cover charge, sometimes as high as $1 the seat. [Hotel Monthly, December 1917]
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