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Where does the word “chauffeur” come from?

May 21, 2017

Chauffeurs Service in London
It’s a word we all know. It’s also a word that has certain connotations of the great and good being transported about in glamorous locations. And chauffeurs in London are an everyday fixture of life in the capital. While chauffeurs are no longer the preserve of the well-to-do, the word still resonates. But where does it come from? We thought we’d dust off the ancient annals of chauffeur history and take a look at the meaning of the word.

The earliest usage of the word in the right context seems to date back to just before the turn of the 19th century. Unsurprisingly the word is originally French, but perhaps surprisingly it doesn’t translate to anything like driver, operator, or motorist. In fact, it was originally the word for “stoker”.

When you think back to what the earliest motor vehicles looked like, it makes sense, as they were steam powered and relied on their operators to ensure the heat was sufficient to get the hot tubes in the cylinder head to reach a high enough temperature to get the engine running on its own.

It wasn’t far into the 20th century before the term stuck and we have the word that we all recognise today. While it may have a francophone glamour all of its own, it certainly has much more humble roots which we would all do well to remember!

While our drivers may not be shovelling hot coals or stoking steam engines, they are still hard-working professionals with a level of expertise more suited to 21st century chauffeuring. That means they have all the skills and knowledge not only to get you to where you need to go, but get you there in style and comfort that you just can’t find anywhere else. So contact our team to book your London chauffeur today.

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