One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
1A small lift for carrying things, especially food and crockery, between the floors of a building.
elevator, hoistView synonyms
- ‘As they laze about the room, the two men engage in high-brow, seemingly irrelevant arguments, while being frequently interrupted by a dumb waiter - that is, a small elevator in the wall.’
- ‘It also has an interesting feature in that several small doors lead off from it, either housing water closets or a dumb waiter, which reached down to the beer and wine supplies in the cellar.’
- ‘The room also includes an original dumb waiter, which has been converted into a built-in drinks cabinet with integrated storage presses.’
- ‘Eventually we were released, crawling ingloriously to freedom through a dumb waiter.’
- ‘A Venetian invention, a casino was a kind of bijou summerhouse specifically designed for illicit sex: the food was delivered by dumb waiter so no shenanigans could be observed.’
- ‘A dark wood bar takes pride of place along with antique cupboards concealing the dumb waiter that leads from the downstairs kitchen.’
- ‘There must be many silly ways to pass on but plunging to your death after climbing into a faulty dumb waiter for a paltry #5 bet surely takes the biscuit.’
- ‘So it was 8:40 exactly when the second radio went off and he climbed out of bed, dressed, ate the sandwich that had been sent up by dumb waiter, and went downstairs.’
- ‘A dumb waiter connected the first-floor kitchen with the second-floor dining room.’
- ‘Dishes came down the dumb waiter as I went up and I had to yell for Mary to get them.’
- ‘A lift might be out of the question, but we might install a dumb waiter.’
- ‘When one of the narrators in a novel is the ghost of a girl who fell to her death in a dumb waiter, you know it's not going to be an ordinary read.’
- ‘While she was there a dumb waiter rattled up almost silently on its well-oiled pulley.’
- ‘They had a noisy dumb waiter (surely a contradiction in terms) and broken panelling on the walls.’
- ‘Predictably, the dumb waiter refused to budge.’
2British A movable table, typically with revolving shelves, used in a dining room.
- ‘In that country, too, there was a vogue for incorporating coasters in dumb waiters.’
- ‘Of course, the beauty of having a well-stocked pub only a dumb waiter away is that, while trying to assimilate the extensive wine list, you can swig beer.’
- ‘The first thing he saw was a huge dumb waiter that served as a clothes stand.’
- ‘The combination of Tudor and Thai works well - I particularly like the antique dumb waiter which faithfully delivers dish upon dish of steaming hot food.’
- ‘But officers on their return found mouse droppings near bins, on the floor, behind a freezer and under a steel table near the dumb waiter.’
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