Originally Posted by tudza
If you were watching The Big Bang Theory this week you would have heard Sheldon explain that the use of toast as a verb dates back to the Romans. I decided to check up on this and I am not so certain.
First, many sites combine this derivation with the "clink the glass to check for poison" lore, which Snopes and other sites deny. If a site started with the poison angle, I distrusted it from there on.
The word toast comes from Vulgar Latin. No doubt there.
The use of toast as a verb shows up first in writing in 1700 according to the OED.
I get the feeling that someone made a leap that they were not justified in making going from one to the other. Does anyone have an authoritative source they can reference?
At first I was going to point out that "toast as a verb"doesn't necessarily mean the drink version, and so Sheldon could be talking about something different, but I found the episode online, and we are definitely dealing with drinks.
So instead I will point out that, in the episode, Sheldon never actually says it. All we have is the condensed version as told by Leonard (and repeated by his girlfriend Pria): "The Romans used to put spiced bread in their punch bowls." We are not getting the whole story. It is therefore possible that he would have explained that the practice of putting the spiced bread in punch dates back that far, but not the term.
That's something I thought of before even watching the episode, so it's not entirely a fanwank. The fanwank is only that Sheldon wouldn't have corrected Pria.