Category Cars

Does anyone know why they call a dashboard a dashboard?


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March 5, 20050 found this helpful

I've looked around and haven't found the origins of "Dashboard". It is pure speculation on my part but I think it is called a "Dashboard" because you can see in a "dash" or quickly the status of your car or airplane.

It's being used a lot for control panels on programs and computers but I think the meaning is the same, quick access to important information about how something is running.
Susan from ThriftyFun

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March 5, 20050 found this helpful

"Prince Albert in a cab.

Dear Word Detective: What is the origin of the word "dash" or "dashboard," as in an automobile. -- Emily Kirkpatrick, via the internet.


Oh boy, an easy one. The "dashboard" of a car is, of course, the panel facing the front-seat passengers, and often houses all sorts of pointless little dials and gauges (as well as the odometer, at which I like to stare for long periods when I become bored with driving). The "dashboard," an English invention, is named after the famous incident in which Queen Victoria thumped the front panel of the Royal Rolls-Royce with her fist, exclaiming to her consort, "Dash it all, Albert! Forget the odometer and watch the road. You've just run over an Archbishop."

Oh, all right, I made that up. "Dashboards" were actually around for quite a while before automobiles and odometers. The term first appeared around 1846 and referred to a leather apron or wooden board mounted at the front (and sometimes along the sides) of a horse-drawn carriage, designed to prevent mud or water being splashed into the interior of the vehicle by the horses' hooves. "Dash" in this sense reflects the basic meaning of the verb "to dash," namely "to throw sharply against something; to break upon," as well as the derivative meaning of (as the Oxford English Dictionary puts it) "to bespatter or splash (a thing) with anything (e.g., water or mud)." This what-a-mess meaning of "dash" dates back to around 1530, and the hyphenated term "dash-board" first showed up around 1846.


The word "dash" itself is probably of Scandinavian origin.

Now here's something truly cool. "Dash" as a noun meaning "sudden blow" led to "dash" being used to mean "a small amount" (as in "a dash of salt"), as well as "a hasty stroke of the pen," thus giving us the typographical "dash," a sort of elongated hyphen. In the 18th and 19th centuries, the word "damn" was frequently replaced in print with a "dash" (as in "Who gives a -- ?"), and by about 1800 "dash" had come to be used as a spoken euphemism for "damn." So Queen Victoria probably did say "Dash it all, Albert!" at some point, and that "dash" really was, at least remotely, connected to "dashboard." "


http://www.word  .com/042702.html

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March 5, 20050 found this helpful

Maybe it got it's name from people dashing their head against it when stopping to quickly.

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March 5, 20050 found this helpful

I love the info, hs- mum! I'll definitely check out word detective.

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