Rest - Encyclopedia


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REST (0. Eng. nest, reste, bed, cognate with other Teutonic forms, e.g. Ger. Rast, Riiste, rest, and probably Gothic Rasta, league, i.e. resting or stopping place), a cessation from active or regular work, hence a time of relief from mental or manual labour. Specific meanings are for an interval of silence in music, marked by a sign indicating the length of the pause; for the forked support with iron-shod spike carried by the soldier till the end of the 17th century as a rest for the heavy musket; and for the support for the cue in billiards to be used when the striking ball is out of reach of the natural rest formed by the hand. In the medieval armour of the horsed man-at-arms, and later in the armour of the tournament, a contrivance was fixed to the side of the body-armour near the right arm-pit, in which the butt-end of the lance was placed to prevent the lance being driven back after striking the opponent at full charge; hence a knight, as a preliminary to the charge, "laid his lance in rest." This "rest" is a shortened form of "arrest," to check, stop, as is seen by the French equivalent, arret. Further, "rest," that which remains over and above, is derived from the French rester, to remain over, Lat. restare, to remain, literally, to stay behind. The principal specific use of this word is in commerce for the balance of undivided profit; it has thus always been the term used by the Bank of England for that which in other banks and companies is called the "reserve" (Hartley Withers, The Meaning of Money (1909), p. 298). The Bank of England "rest" is never allowed to fall below £3,000,000 (see Banks And Banking).

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