phrases, sayings, idioms and expressions at

Home | Search the website Search | Discussion Forum Home|

Story = historia

Posted by Masakim on September 27, 2003

In Reply to: Story = historia posted by ESC on September 27, 2003

: : Why do we refer to multi-floor buildings as stories?

: : I don't know if this is the right forum to ask this quiestion, but I have tried a few other forums and haven't been able to get an answer? I hope somebody can help!

: STORY - "n. floor of a building. Before 1354, borrowed from Anglo-Latin 'historia' picture, floor of a building, from Latin 'historia'.perhaps so called because the front of buildings in the Middle Ages often were decorated with rows of painted windows." "The Barnhart Concise Dictionary of Etymology" by Robert K. Barnhart (HarperCollins Publishers, New York, 1995).

: From Merriam-Webster online at
: Main Entry: 3story
: Variant(s): also sto.rey /'stOr-E, 'stor-E/
: Function: noun
: Inflected Form(s): plural stories also storeys
: Etymology: Middle English storie, from Medieval Latin historia picture, story of a building, from Latin, history, tale; probably from pictures adorning the windows of medieval buildings
: Date: 14th century
: 1 a : the space in a building between two adjacent floor levels or between a floor and the roof b : a set of rooms in such a space c : a unit of measure equal to the height of the story of a building
: 2 : a horizontal division of a building's exterior not necessarily corresponding exactly with the stories within

Kel Richards, in ABC Classic FM Breakfast Word of the Day (Dec. 12, 2002), writes:
By the 15th century any work of pictorial or sculptural art containing figures could be called a story. Hence stained-glass windows in churches could be called "stories in glass". As late as the 18th century John Evelyn (in his Diary) refers to the paintings of Holbein as stories. As an architectural term the Latin historia (and, hence, the English story) may have originally denoted a tier of painted windows or sculptures on the front of a building. However, such a tier of sculptures (or high-set stained glass windows) could give the appearance of there being another floor (or level) inside the building. So when there was (another floor or level inside the building) it too was called a story.