late 13c., "furnace;" late 14c., "smoke vent of a fireplace, vertical structure raised above a house for smoke to escape to the open air;" from Old French cheminee "fireplace; room with a fireplace; hearth; chimney stack" (12c., Modern French cheminée), from Medieval Latin caminata "a fireplace," from Late Latin (camera) caminata "fireplace; room with a fireplace," from Latin caminatus, adjective of caminus "furnace, forge; hearth, oven; flue," from Greek kaminos "furnace, oven, brick kiln," which is of uncertain origin.
From the persistence of the medial i in OF. it is seen that the word was not an ancient popular word, but a very early adoption of caminata with subsequent phonetic evolution [OED]
Middle English also had native names for it: smokethurl, smokehole (14c.). Jamieson  notes that in vulgar use in Scotland it typically was pronounced "chimley." From the same source are Old High German cheminata, German Kamin, Russian kaminu, Polish komin. Chimney-corner "space beside a fireplace" is from 1570s.
updated on January 28, 2023
Dictionary entries near chimney