A kitchen stove is called a 'range'

albert_135May 21, 2012

In the US kitchen stove was/is called a "range".

Do we know when and why "range'' became the name for this appliance?

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IDK...Stove and oven was what we have always called these appliances. but now the are Cooktops and Range.. changing with the times i guess! :)

    Bookmark   May 21, 2012 at 3:49PM
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My Mil still calls her refrigerator her icebox.

My mom calls her sofa her couch.

My mom calls her handbag/purse her pocketbook.

And she calls her range her stove.

We could probabably all go on and on.

    Bookmark   May 21, 2012 at 4:13PM
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Heehee, my mom used to call her suitcase her 'grip'.

I'll admit to being sloppy about stove/oven/range terminology. Mom used the words 'stove' and 'oven' interchangeably ("Zeebee, turn on the stove for me" meant turn on the baking/roasting compartment, not a burner) and I slide between all three words now. Can't say I know the origins of 'range', however.....

    Bookmark   May 21, 2012 at 5:53PM
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Poking around I can't find the history. But 'stove' comes from the word 'stofa' that means a 'closed box'. Wood stoves or coal stoves are used for heating an area. Hence a cook stove is for cooking.

    Bookmark   May 21, 2012 at 6:49PM
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I saw one online etymology that states the use dates back to the 15th century but no one knows where it came from.

    Bookmark   May 21, 2012 at 7:16PM
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Plausibly from a row of fireplaces lined up in a medieval (high end) kitchen.

From Wiktionary

From Middle English rengen, from Old French renger (âÂÂrange, rank, order, arrayâÂÂ), from rang (âÂÂa rank, rowâÂÂ), from Old High German hring, hrinc, Middle High German rinc (âÂÂa ringâÂÂ).

Therein an hundred raunges weren pight,
And hundred fornaces all burning bright;

1590, Edmund Spenser, The Faerie Queene, II.vii:

[pight = past tense of pitch, as in pitching a tent.]


    Bookmark   May 22, 2012 at 9:37AM
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They're also called cookers.

"Stove" is one of these terms that industry insiders inexplicably refuse to use despite common usage, like how the mobile phone industry turned against "cellular" in favor of "wireless" a several years back for no obvious reason, or how bathroom sinks are "lavatories" or "lavs" even though everyone calls them sinks. I don't know why corporate types are like this.

    Bookmark   May 24, 2012 at 9:34PM
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I think these examples are not part of the same conspiracy. Lavs are called lavs because plumbers call them lavs for historical reasons. (See also water closet.) On the other hand, I would bet a donut that cellular was dropped in favor of wireless as a result of focus group testing, with a flavor of user ignorance of what cellular means in this context. Stove would require a bigger guess on my part, so I'll guess that it has connotations of wood fired cast iron in the public's mind when what we now call a range was introduced.


    Bookmark   May 26, 2012 at 9:34AM
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I wonder if the "Range" came about when stoves had boilers in them.

    Bookmark   May 27, 2012 at 9:43PM
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b.t.w. , "lavabo" is Latin for "I shall wash" meaning washing hands to get clean. It is the first word of a standard prayer or sentence that monks used to say when going to wash their hands at a monastery's single large handwashing sink. So, the sink came to be called a lavabo. This made it into English.
Here: http://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/lavabo
It's well described in French: http://fr.wiktionary.org/wiki/lavabo

This later became transformed into lavatory to make it something non-religious and more like a laboratory (which means "workplace").

2d b.t.w. Cellular got dropped because there was no point insisting that users understand the concept of "cells" around the antennae. But it does explain why sometimes callers cannot reach you (because the cell you are in is fully loaded) and the caller gets your voicemail even though your phone is on.

    Bookmark   May 27, 2012 at 9:54PM
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My immediate guess is that the industry doesn't use the word stove because it's a generic term that doesn't necessarily describe what the appliance is. To me, you cook something in the oven, in the microwave, on the stove (or, stovetop), etc. And that stove could be a range, a cooktop, or the top of a range. Just like the oven could be part of a range or it could be a wall oven.

Granted, if someone told me they went out and bought a new stove I'd assume it was a range. But it makes sense to standardize terminology. Case in point, Bluestar now call their rangetop a rangetop, after years of calling it a cooktop. Why? Probably because they confused people, esp. when they came out with what the rest of the world actually calls a cooktop.

David - thanks for the tidbit about why cell phone calls sometimes go straight to voicemail. I've often wondered that.

    Bookmark   May 28, 2012 at 9:03AM
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I found a significant discussion on this by Etymologist Anatoly Liberman; about the third or fourth down from the top.

Short answer "range" from the French. Longer answer the word goes further back.

    Bookmark   May 30, 2012 at 1:07PM
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I thought the stove was the cooktop, the oven was the oven, and when combined within a single unit became a range?

    Bookmark   May 30, 2012 at 6:43PM
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I think the term 'range' became popular because of that song...
"Home, home on the range, where the dears with their cantaloupe play.."

    Bookmark   May 30, 2012 at 7:29PM
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Where is the THS censor when you need him?

    Bookmark   May 31, 2012 at 10:45AM
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the origins of "ranch" parallel this use of "range" to mean something combined, multi-part, ordered and structured.

Oh, give me a home where the word range is defined.

Don't anyone disagree. Not too strongly. Because here is Where seldom is heard a discouraging word. And the skies are not cloudy all day.

    Bookmark   May 31, 2012 at 11:08AM
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