1706, "a cabinet; an ornamental base structure," from French console "a bracket" (16c.), which is of uncertain origin, possibly from Middle French consolateur, literally "one who consoles," word used for carved human figures supporting cornices, shelves or rails in choir stalls. Another guess connects it to Latin consolidare. Sense evolved to "body of a musical organ" (1881), "radio cabinet" (1925), then "cabinet for a TV, stereo, etc." (1944).
1690s, from French consoler "to comfort, console," from Latin consolari "offer solace, encourage, comfort, cheer," from assimilated form of com, here probably an intensive prefix (see com-), + solari "to comfort" (see solace). Or perhaps a back-formation from consolation. The Latin word is glossed in Old English by frefran. Related: Consoled; consoling.
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