How did the term "flat" as in an apartment originate?
Question #52138. Asked by kaushik_twin.
Answer has 3 votes
Answer has 3 votes.
In Britain and the Commonwealth, a flat is often taken to be a working class publicly-provided residential unit, whereas an identical private unit when targeted at a middle class resident would be called an apartment.
The term flat derives from a Germanic word for a floor and has the same origin as the other meaning of the word flat.
Nov 03 2004, 7:17 PM
Answer has 9 votes
Currently Best Answer
Baloo55th 20 year member
Answer has 9 votes.
Currently voted the best answer.
It comes from Old English 'flett' meaning floor, hall, house and related to 'flat'. Probably because it's flat - all on one level - as opposed to a house which is on more than one level. Unless it's a bungalow, but they aren't stacked up like flats. If it's stacked up but on more than one level, it's a maisonette.
Nov 04 2004, 12:50 PM
Answer has 5 votes
lammas 20 year member
Answer has 5 votes.
This mode of living was first introduced in France in the middle of the nineteenth century, particularly in Paris. The first purpose-built apartment blocks in America were put up in Boston in the 1850s, and were advertised as 'French flats'.