chimney (n.)

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 [1808] 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