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Old 14 May 2009, 07:49 PM
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snopes snopes is offline
 
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Chef Bistro

Comment: I have heard from two sources for years (Russian language
studies,and military history of the Napoleonic times) that "our" word
Bistro, which can be a term for small fast food spots or places for a
quick drink, had its origin in Paris when the Russian forces entered among
the winners of the battle of Leipzig, which led to Napoleon's abdication.
Restrained from pillage, they still implanted the Russian word Bistro!
meaning "quickly!" into the language with their demands for a quick bite
or gulp. Never have found out if true or not. By the way, the word in
Russian is pronounced bees-truh, stressed hard s.
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Old 14 May 2009, 08:04 PM
pinqy pinqy is offline
 
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Well, the Russian word "быстро" certainly does mean "quickly" and I've never heard any other etymology for the French word, so this is one I would accept at face value as it makes sense and there's no alternate explanation or reason to doubt.

Interestingly enough, last time I was in Russia, 10 years ago, there was a restaurant chain called "русское бистро" (Russian Bistro) that served tea and pirozhki etc. I found it amusing they stole the word back (with different spelling).

pinqy
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Old 14 May 2009, 08:31 PM
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Doesn't the French word have a "t": Bistrot?
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Old 14 May 2009, 10:28 PM
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The Russian word may be written somewhat similar but is pronounced rather different. If the French had adopted it, they would have named it Bustre. Anyway, the French mostly disagree:

Quote:
Peut-être du poitevin « bistraud » ou « mastroquet » (nord de la France) / « bistroquet » (sud de la France) signifiant à l’origine un domestique, puis le domestique du marchand de vins, puis le marchand de vin lui-même
In English: originally a servant, then a wine-seller. Later a place where wine was sold.
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Old 14 May 2009, 10:41 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pinqy View Post
Well, the Russian word "быстро" certainly does mean "quickly" and I've never heard any other etymology for the French word, so this is one I would accept at face value as it makes sense and there's no alternate explanation or reason to doubt.

According to this guy, it's unlikely it came from Russian.
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