Digging down to find a rathskeller

Although I use online dictionaries to write Talk Wordy to Me because it is much easier to cut and paste than retype the entries, I still like using print dictionaries when I need to look something up at work or when I am reading at home. One reasons for that is because I often come across new and interesting words that I never would have seen if I'd just searched online for the word I wanted. The other day at work, I found rathskeller.

This is a great word on its own, without knowing anything about it. It is interesting and has a creepy sound to it. Here's the American Heritage Dictionary definition:

  • A restaurant or tavern, usually below street level, that serves beer.

OK, so that's not very creepy, beyond the underground bit. It's still a great word.

Rathskeller is a German word. Here's the AHD etymology:

  • From the German ratskeller, rathskeller, a restaurant in the city hall basement. From the German rat, meaning council, counsel (from the Middle High German rāt, from the Old High German) + German keller, meaning cellar (from the Middle High German , from the Old High German kellāri, from Latin cellārium, meaning pantry, from the Latin cella, meaning storeroom.