Posted by ESC on July 01, 2011 at 01:03
In Reply to: Round table posted by Roger Schwartz on June 30, 2011 at 10:40:
: What is the origin & meaning of the phrase "round table meeting" or "round table conference"? I think it refers to a discussion or fact finding group of some kind & I should it orginates from King Arthur's Round Table.
I would say that's a good bet.
The Round Table -- created by Merlin at Carduel for Uther Pendragon. Uther gave it to Leodegraunce of Cameliard, who gave it to King Arthur. It was round to "prevent any jealousy on the score of precedency." Brewer's goes on to give a history of The Round Table and its successors. First reference: Wace's Roman de Brut, 1155. (“Brewer’s Dictionary of Phrase and Fable” revised by John Ayto, HarperCollinsPublishers, New York, 2005, Seventeenth Edition, Page 1194.).
Brewer's also has "round table conference," a conference where no one participant has precedence and the matter at hand shall be settled amicably. The expression "came into prominence" with an 1887 conference held to reunite the Liberal Party. (Brewer's Page 1155)