butler (n.)

mid-13c. (as a surname late 12c.), from Anglo-French buteillier, Old French boteillier, "cup-bearer, butler, officer in charge of wine," from boteille "wine vessel, bottle" (see bottle (n.)). The word reflects the position's original function as "chief servant in charge of wine." It gradually evolved to "head, servant of a household." In Old French, the fem. boteilliere was used of the Virgin Mary as the dispenser of the cup of Mercy.

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