Word of the Day


Pronunciation /ʌpˈhəʊlst(ə)ri/ /ʌpˈhɒlst(ə)ri/
mass noun
1 Soft, padded textile covering that is fixed to furniture such as armchairs and sofas.
1.1 The art or practice of upholstering furniture.


Sam sank slowly into the upholstery of his easy chair. It always absorbs his fatigue, relaxing his day-drained muscles and releasing the tension in his joints. Very soon he naps, waking for supper, followed by a couple of hours watching baseball on TV with Edith before heading off to bed.


[Lexico didn’t offer an origin this time, so I consulted with Etymonline.com, checking ‘upholsterer’ and its recommended ‘uphold’.]

upholsterer (n.)

“tradesman who finishes or repairs articles of furniture” (1610s), from upholdester (early 15c.; early 14c. as a surname), formed with diminutive (originally fem.) suffix -ster + obsolete Middle English noun upholder “dealer in small goods” (c. 1300), from upholden “to repair, uphold, keep from falling or sinking” (in this case, by stuffing); see uphold (v.).

uphold (v.)

c. 1200, “support, sustain,” from up (adv.) + hold (v.). Similar formation in Old Frisian upholda, Middle Dutch ophouden, German aufhalten. Meaning “maintain in good condition or repair” is from 1570s. Related: Upheld; upholding.

In software circles, the people who keep (especially FOSS) programs up-to-date are called ‘maintainers’. Sometimes, the ones who work on the very core elements of operating systems and infrastructure are called ‘plumbers’. Nonetheless, I do not think ‘upholsterer’ will catch on for a maintainer of GUI software which allows us to use easy, comfortable clicks and gestures and to avoid the command line interface.

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