From the Latin hospes (a guest), being originally an inn or house of entertainment for pilgrims; hence our words host (one who entertains), hospitality (the entertainment given), and hospitaller (the keeper of the house). In process of time these receptacles were resorted to by the sick and infirm only, and the house of entertainment became an asylum for the sick and wounded. In 1399 Katherine de la Court held a “hospital” at the bottom of the court called Robert de Paris; after the lapse of four years her landlord died, and the tavern or hospital fell to his heirs Jehan de Chevreuse and William Cholet.
(The), in Post-office phraseology, is the department where loose packages are set to rights.
Source: Dictionary of Phrase and Fable, E. Cobham Brewer, 1894
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