The New International Encyclopædia/Toast

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TOAST (OF. toste, from ML. tosta, toast, Lat. fem. sing. of p.p. of torrere, to dry; connected with Gk. τερέσθαι, teresthai, to become dry, Skt. tarṣ, to thirst, and ultimately with Eng. thirst) . Originally the name given to bread dried or scorched before the fire. As early as the sixteenth century toast formed a favorite addition to English drinks, especially sack and punch. The application of the word to a lady whose health is drunk, and thence to any sentiment mentioned with honor before drinking, is said to have originated from an incident described in The Rambler (No. 24), as having happened at Bath in the eighteenth century, when it was the fashion for ladies to bathe publicly, in elegant dresses made for the purpose. “It happened that on a public day a celebrated beauty of these times was in the Cross Bath, and one of the crowd of her admirers took a glass of the water in which the fair one stood, and drank her health to the company. There was in the place a gay fellow, half fuddled, who offered to jump in, and swore, though he liked not the liquor, he would have the toast” (meaning the lady). In the later sense, the word has been adopted both in French and German.