Origin of box-office
- So named because it was originally an office for the booking of boxes in a theater
From American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition
- Folk etymology is that this derives from Elizabethan theatre, where theater admission was collected in a box attached to a long stick, passed around the audience. However, first attestation is over a century later (theaters were closed in 1642), making this highly unlikely.
- 1786, presumably from sales of boxes, box seats (“separated private seating”). Sense of “total sales” from 1904.