A Lazy Susan is a revolving tray in the middle of the dining table for easy access to condiments and shared dishes.

What a strange name for this turntable that became fashionable in the early 20th century.

If your name is Susan, I am sure you are not lazy, but you are probably interested in the origin of the name for this handy serving aid. Well, like many other English expressions, it is not clear.

The Lazy Susan is a fairly new term, replacing dumbwaiter for the small turntable in the middle of a larger table. Perhaps the re-naming was to distinguish it from the small food elevator which saved the legs of waiters carrying food between floors, also called a dumbwaiter.

There are two theories as to who ‘Susan’ was. Firstly, it was a common name for a servant girl, who was made lazy by the device’s invention. Secondly it could have been a reference to a ‘lazy’ hostess who no longer had to offer around the selections to her guests, merely to spin the revolving tray.