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1782, from Swiss-French chalet "herdsman's hut, Alpine cottage," probably a diminutive of Old French chasel "farmhouse, house, abode, hut," perhaps from Vulgar Latin *casalis "belonging to a house," from Latin casa "house;" or from Old Provençal cala "small shelter for ships," from a pre-Latin language [Barnhart].
timber house characteristic of Switzerland, the Bavarian Alps, Tirol, and the French Alps. The name originally referred to a sheepherder's dwelling and, later, to any small house in the mountains.