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Borrowed from French bahut, of unknown origin.


  • IPA(key): /bəˈhʊt/, /bəˈhuːt/


bahut (plural bahuts)

  1. (obsolete) A portable coffer or chest with a rounded lid covered in leather, garnished with nails, once used for the transport of clothes or other personal luggage. It was the original portmanteau.
  2. (obsolete, architecture) A dwarf-wall of plain masonry, carrying the roof of a cathedral or church and masked or hidden behind the balustrade.

Usage notes[edit]

Towards the end of the 17th century, the name fell into disuse and was replaced by coffer, which probably accounts for its misuse by the French romantic writers of the early 19th century. They applied it to almost any antique sideboard, cupboard or wardrobe, and its use became hopelessly confused.





Inherited from Old French bahur. Further origin unknown, most hypotheses being weak in one respect or another (cf. Further reading below). Bratchet suggests Middle High German behut (hutch for provisions) or Frankish *baghūdi, *baghōdi (sideboard), from Proto-Germanic *bagg- (possibly related to Old Norse baggi, Proto-Germanic *pakkô) + *hūdiz (hide, protection).[1][2][3]

Compare Italian baule, Ladino baul, Portuguese baú.


  • IPA(key): /ba.y/
  • (file)


bahut m (plural bahuts)

  1. chest; sideboard
  2. (school slang) school
  3. (colloquial) lorry, truck; (taxi) cab


  1. ^ bahut” in Dicionário Aberto based on Novo Diccionário da Língua Portuguesa de Cândido de Figueiredo, 1913
  2. ^ Brachet, A. (1873), “bahut”, in , Kitchin, G. W., transl., Etymological dictionary of the French language (Clarendon Press Series), 1st edition, London: Oxford/MacMillan and Co.
  3. ^ Guus Kroonen, “Reflections on the o/zero-Ablaut in the Germanic Iterative Verbs”, in The Indo-European Verb: Proceedings of the Conference of the Society for Indo-European Studies, Los Angeles, 13-15 September 2010, Wiesbaden: Reichert Verlag, 2012

Further reading[edit]