In this day and age, we tend to associate this term with the back storage piece — sometimes possessing a knee space and/or complemented by a hutch — that often accompanies a desk in an office. However, it originally referred to something quite different. Italian for “belief,” the “act of credenza” in the 1500s occurred when a servant sacrificially pre-tasted meals for his master to test for poison. The term passed from the action to the room where the paranoid deed took place to the piece of furniture on which the food rested. That’s why the other definition for credenza is a sideboard or buffet used to store items and serve meals, whether in a home or in a restaurant. In its most traditional, specific definition, though, a credenza is a cupboard outfitted with a stone top, made of wood, sporting intricate marquetry and possibly display cabinets made of glass. Crendenza, you’ve come a long way, baby.
See also: hutch