What do planks have to do with planks? – Corporate/commercial law
United States: What do planks have to do with planks?
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Section 155 of the California Corporations Code somewhat circularly defines “board” as “the board of directors of the corporation”. But why do general corporate law and corporate statutes in other states refer to the group or governing body as a “board”?
The word “board” is the modern spelling of the Anglo-Saxon word “bord” which meant a flat piece of wood. In Geoffrey Chaucer’s time, the word was used as a synecdoche for a table. In The Clerk’s Tale, for example, Chaucer writes “‘Mr. Clerk of Oxenford,’ says our host, ‘Ye ryde as coy and still as dooth a mayde, Were new married, sitting at the bord . . .’ (“Mr. Scholar of Oxford,” our host said, “You come upstairs as timidly as a maid, just married, sitting at the wedding table…”). The Canterbury Tales (translated by Peter Tuttle). See also The Summoner’s Tale (“While this lord sat on board”).
Although nothing in general corporate law requires directors to physically meet at a table, the term is used as a metonym for the meeting of directors.
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