English: topographic name for someone who lived in or near a royal forest, or a metonymic occupational name for a keeper or worker in one. Middle English forest was not, as today, a near-synonym of wood, but referred specifically to a large area of woodland reserved by law for the purposes of hunting by the king and his nobles. The same applied to the European cognates, both Germanic and Romance. The English word is from Old French forest, Late Latin forestis (silva). This is generally taken to be a derivative of foris ‘outside’; the reference was probably to woods lying outside a habitation. On the other hand, Middle High German for(e)st has been held to be a derivative of Old High German foraha ‘fir’ (see Forster), with the addition of a collective suffix.