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[suhm-uh l-yey; French saw-muh-lyey] /ˌsʌm əlˈyeɪ; French sɔ məˈlyeɪ/
noun, plural sommeliers
[suhm-uh l-yeyz; French saw-muh-lyey] /ˌsʌm əlˈyeɪz; French sɔ məˈlyeɪ/ (Show IPA)
a waiter, as in a club or restaurant, who is in charge of wines.
Origin of sommelier
1920-25; < French, Middle French, dissimilated form of *sommerier, derivative of sommier one charged with arranging transportation, equivalent to somme burden (< Late Latin sagma horse load < Greek ságma covering, pack saddle) + -ier -ier2 Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the Web for sommelier
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • She caught the hand with which he was signalling to the sommelier.

    The Glimpses of the Moon Edith Wharton
  • He had a professional talk with the sommelier while waiting for the soup, then settled down to enjoy his meal.

    Deathworld Harry Harrison
  • And when the sommelier attempted to help him with the wine, he was elbowed vigorously.

    Visionaries James Huneker
British Dictionary definitions for sommelier


a wine steward in a restaurant or hotel
Word Origin
French: butler, via Old French from Old Provençal saumalier pack-animal driver, from Late Latin sagma a packsaddle, from Greek
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for sommelier

wine waiter, 1889, from French sommelier "a butler," originally an officer who had charge of provisions (13c.), from somme "pack" (12c.), from Vulgar Latin *salma, corruption of sagma "a pack-saddle," later the pack on the saddle (Isidore of Seville). Also borrowed in 16c.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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