Valet has several current meanings, with the oldest of these being a male servant who does personal jobs for his employer, such as looking after clothes and in some cases keeping a calendar and looking after small scheduling tasks. The word valet in contemporary English may also refer to anyone who does similar work in a hotel or cruise ship; somebody who parks cars for others. The word also refers to a sort of clothes stand meant to keep business garments straightened and creased.


The word valet originates in the early modern French language. The word “valet,” in which the "t" is silent as it is pronounced now, stems from a word with the same spelling and similar meaning in French, which was short for “valet de chambre," "chambre" in this sense referring to any type of dressing, sleeping or living room. Going back farther, the word comes from the Latin for “servant” -- vassus. Valet is now sometimes used as a verb -- for example to valet a car -- and occasionally as an adjective, as in valet parking.

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