Advertisement

smorgasbord (n.)

1893, from Swedish smörgåsbord, literally "butter-goose table," from smörgås, "slice of bread and butter," compounded from smör "butter" (see smear (n.)) and gås, literally "goose" (and from the same Germanic root that yielded English goose (n.)).

[Smörgås] properly signifies "a slice of bread-and-butter"; and has come by custom--in much the same way as when we familiarly speak of "taking a sandwich" for partaking of some light refreshment--to be applied synecdochically to the preliminary relish or appetizer partaken of before meals. ["Notes and Queries," Nov. 15, 1884]

The final element is bord "table," from Proto-Germanic *burdam "plank, board, table" (see board (n.1)). Figurative sense of "medley, miscellany" is recorded from 1948.

Others are reading

Advertisement
Definitions of smorgasbord from WordNet

smorgasbord (n.)
a collection containing a variety of sorts of things;
a veritable smorgasbord of religions
Synonyms: assortment / mixture / mixed bag / miscellany / miscellanea / variety / salmagundi / potpourri / motley
smorgasbord (n.)
an assortment of foods starting with herring or smoked eel or salmon etc with bread and butter; then cheeses and eggs and pickled vegetables and aspics; finally hot foods; served as a buffet meal;
From wordnet.princeton.edu