One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
1A heated chamber in which Madeira wine is stored and matured.
- ‘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.’
- ‘Some of the smaller shippers and stockholders refuse to resort to the estufa to age their wines.’
2US An underground chamber in which a fire is kept permanently alight, used as a place of assembly by Pueblo Indians.
- ‘Each pueblo contains an estufa, which is used both as a council chamber and a place of worship.’
- ‘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.’
Mid 19th century: from Spanish, probably based on Greek tuphos ‘steam or smoke’.
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