TANKARD, a type of drinking vessel. The word was formerly used loosely of many sizes, usually large, of vessels for holding liquids; thus it was applied to such as held two or more gallons and were used to carry water from the conduits in London in the 16th and early 17th centuries. The word is now generally applied to a straight, flat-bottomed drinking vessel of silver, pewter or other metal, or of glass or pottery mounted on metal, with a hinged cover and handle, holding from a pint to a quart of liquor (see DRINKING VESSELS). The derivation is obscure. It appears in O. Fr. as tanquart and in O. Du. as tanckaert. It may have been, as is suggested, metathesized from Gr. KavOapos, Lat. cantharus, a large vessel or pot. It is used to gloss amphora in the Promptorium Parvulorum (c. 1440). It is not connected with "tank," a cistern or reservoir for water, which was formerly "stank," and is from Port. tanque, O. Fr. estang, mod. Nang, pool; Lat. stagnum, whence Eng. "stagnant."
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