I don't understand the emboldening from CNTRL. How does « chaudement » semantically appertain to « promptement »?

Du lat. pop. tostum, neutre prés. adv. de tostus « grillé, rôti, brûlé », part. passé de torrere « griller, rôtir »; tostum a dû signifier d'abord « chaudement » d'où « promptement ».

Word Origins (2005 2e) by John Ayto. p 510 Left column.

toast [14]

Toast comes via Old French toster ‘roast, grill’ from Vulgar Latin *tostāre, a derivative of the past participle of Latin torrēre ‘parch’ (source of English torrid). Its use as a noun, meaning ‘toasted bread’, dates from the 15th century. It was common to put sippets or croutons of spiced toast into drinks to improve their flavour, and it was the custom of gallants in the 17th century, when (as they frequently did) they drank the health of ladies, to say that the name of the lady in question enhanced the flavour of their drink better than any toast. That is supposedly the origin of the use of the term toast for ‘drinking someone’s health’.

1 Answer 1


Littré's definition adds some more details, but is still unclear:

du latin tostus, brûlé, par assimilation de la rapidité de la flamme ; c'est ainsi que, dans l'ancien français, on a dit chaut pas, pour rapidement ; que Dante a dit impresa tosta, entreprise rapide(...)

So Tostus means burnt/toasted, hence cooked fast and strong. Something done swiftly gets finished early, so I guess this how we get to the final meaning.

It seems not perfectly consistent with the example : if "chaut pas" (hot step) means walking fast, then "chaut/chaud" means fast and tostus must be "very fast". And there's no obvious link between the rapidité de la flamme and "chaut pas".

The shift between fast and early is not totally satisfying either, but I can imagine a sentence like this:

Cette tâche doit être terminée aussi vite que possible.

This task shall be finished as quickly as possible.

shifting over time to mean:

Cette tâche doit être terminée aussi tôt que possible.

That task shall be finished as early as possible.

I'm not a linguist, though.

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