One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
1A heated chamber in which Madeira wine is stored and matured.
- ‘Some of the smaller shippers and stockholders refuse to resort to the estufa to age their wines.’
- ‘Special inspectors place thermostatic seals on each estufa, and if the temperature becomes too high the seal is automatically broken and the wine is then confiscated.’
2US An underground chamber in which a fire is kept permanently alight, used as a place of assembly by Pueblo Indians.
- ‘Montezuma placed his sacred fire in the estufa, and warned his people that death would come upon them if they allowed it to go out.’
- ‘Each pueblo contains an estufa, which is used both as a council chamber and a place of worship.’
Mid 19th century: from Spanish, probably based on Greek tuphos ‘steam or smoke’.
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