Why are we called Toastmasters?

I was recruiting freshmen to join Toastmasters during the NUS matriculation fair. When some freshmen walked past our booth, they saw our banner with the word “Toastmasters Club” and punned, “Toast Masters? Is it a club where you learn to toast bread?” 

I’m sure you all know full well that our founder, Dr. Raplh Smedley, chose to name this wonderful organisation “Toastmasters” because we, as public speakers, are tasked to propose toasts to the audience during important functions. But does the word “Toastmasters” have anything to do with toasting bread?

The answer is YES. Let me trace the fons et origo of the word “Toast”

In ancient time, the Romans toast their bread in a fire. When the breads become too hard to chew, they would soak the bread in wine to soften it. The idea was expanded, in the late 17th century, when someone decided to drink to the health of a lady, whose name was felt to have spiced the drink like the pieces of spiced toasts that were placed in wine. 

Of course today, the word toastmasters is synomymous with a person who is learning or practicing public speaking. 

Reference. An article written by Toastmaster Audrey Lim from NUS Toastmasters Club

Origin of the word “Toast”. From The NEW OXFORD Dictionary of English.

Article submitted by mathew

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