1650s, "tavern, bar, little inn," from French cabaret, originally "tavern" (13c.), which is of uncertain origin, perhaps from Middle Dutch cambret, from Old French (Picard dialect) camberete, diminutive of cambre "chamber" (see chamber (n.)). The word was "somewhat naturalized" in this sense [OED]. It was borrowed again from French with a meaning "a restaurant/night club" in 1912; the extension of meaning to "entertainment, floor show" is by 1918.
updated on October 28, 2022