Chairman
WishingStar1031
I am looking for the origin of the phrase "chairman of the board" and would appreciate any help.
AdSumADS
What, by way of explanation, would you like to know? "Board," qua "board of directors" (which is the context of this phrase) stems from an archaic term for "table," which also spawned "board," as in "room and board." Commitees tend to meet around tables. The "chair" was literally a piece of furniture, but a large or otherwise distinguished one, as at the head of the table or a throne. The one in charge tended to occupy it and so the term was coined "chairman" for the leader board/commitee.

There is more depth to this, but level of specificity were you seeking?

WishingStar1031
I am looking for a very indepth answer to this question. I am specifically looking for the time period it originated and the specific circumstance it originated under. I believe that it had something to do with Shakespeare but I am not positive. Please Help.
AtoZ
The home page of the town of Peterborough in the UK (www.peterborough.uk) offers the following. (Don't ask me why they should care about such things)

"Back in the 16th century, for ordinary folk, tables did not exist. It was a loose board (laid on a frame) with a rough side and a smooth side: hence 'taking the rough with the smooth.' A household usually had only one chair, the family stood at the board for meals (except father), and so when parish meetings took place at the board the person running the meeting - the 'chairman' - would also be referred to as the 'chairman of the board.' When people ate, they ate from the rough side and for other activities the table was turned over (uncleaned, hygiene did not exist).As beds were a luxury, visitors were offered the board to sleep on: hence 'boarders' and offering 'board.' Games were played at it -board games- the designs used were carved into the board. When you played games you had to keep your hands 'above board' (hence this phrase is used for honesty). Sideboard and Cupboard stem from this."

AtoZ
Correction to the above, it should have been www.peterborough.net Go to the Lifestyles section and "Why do we say?" article.
AdSumADS
Webster's lists "chairman" as dating to 1592.
Lewis Joplin II
CHAIRMAN OF THE BOARD - "One of the most illustrious titles in the power of American business to bestow is 'chairman of the board.' Generally speaking, it means that is holder has reached the pinnacle of achievement within his (or her) company and rates with the elite of the business world. And where did the title come from? Well, for an answer we turn to Marshall Davidson, author of the 'American Heritage History of Colonial Antiques'" 'It is hard to realize that when Elder William Brewster of the Plymouth Plantation was a lad in England, even such elementary devices as chimneys, solid and permanent bedsteads, glass windows, wooden floors and pewter tableware were relatively novel features of the ordinary English House, Chairs were not widely used. As in the Middle Ages, they were generally reserved for persons of importance; the others sat on stools or benches. At a time when tables often consisted of removable boards set on trestles, he who occupied the principal seat had that distinction we recall in the phrase 'chairman of the board." From the "Morris Dictionary of Word and Phrase Origins" by William and Mary Morris (HarperCollins, New York, 1977, 1988). Page 121.

CHAIR - "...The sense of be chairman of, preside over (a meeting) is first recorded in 1921." chairman, n., (1654); chairwoman n. (1681); and chairperson, n., (1971, American English). From the "Barnhart Concise Dictionary of Etymology: The Origins of American English Words" by Robert K. Barnhart (HarperCollins Publishers, New York, 1995). Page 115.

Of course, THE chairman of the board was Frank Sinatra.

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