"alleviate the grief or mental distress of," 1690s, from French consoler "to comfort, console," from Latin consolari "offer solace, encourage, comfort, cheer," from assimilated form of com-, here perhaps an intensive prefix (see com-), + solari "to comfort" (see solace (n.)). Or perhaps a back-formation from consolation. The Latin word is glossed in Old English by frefran. Related: Consoled; consoling.
1706, "a cabinet; an ornamental base structure," from French console "a bracket" (16c.), which is of uncertain origin, possibly from consolateur, literally "one who consoles" (see console (v.)), being used somehow for carved human figures supporting cornices, shelves or rails in choir stalls. Another guess connects it to Latin consolidare "to make solid" (see consolidate).
The sense evolved to "body of a musical organ" (1881), "radio cabinet" (1925), then "cabinet for a TV, stereo, etc." (1944). Console-table is attested from 1813.
updated on June 27, 2021