BOARD (O. Eng. bord), a plank or long narrow piece of timber. The word comes into various compounds to describe boards used for special purposes, or objects like boards (drawing-board, ironing-board, sounding-board, chess-board, cardboard, back-board, notice-board, scoring-board). The phrase “to keep one’s name on the boards,” at Cambridge University, signifies to remain a member of a college; at Oxford it is “on the books.” In bookbinding, pasteboard covers are called boards. Board was early used of a table, hence such phrases as “bed and board,” “board and lodging”; or of a gaming-table, as in the phrase “to sweep the board,” meaning to pocket all the stakes, hence, figuratively, to carry all before one. The same meaning leads to “Board of Trade,” “Local Government Board,” &c.
From the meaning of border or side, and especially ship’s side, comes “sea-board,” meaning sea-coast, and the phrases “aboard” (Fr. abord), “over-board,” “by the board”; similarly “weather-board,” the side of a ship which is to windward; “larboard and starboard” (the former of uncertain origin, Mid. Eng. laddeboard or latheboard; the latter meaning “steering side,” O. Eng. steorbord, the rudder of early ships working over the steering side), signifying (to one standing at the stern and looking forward) the left and right sides of the ship respectively.