The term cupboard was originally used to describe an open-shelved side table for displaying dishware, more specifically plates, cups and saucers. These open cupboards typically had between one and three display tiers, and at the time, a drawer or multiple drawers fitted to them. The word cupboard gradually came to mean a closed piece of furniture. 
The word cupboard is also frequently used in British English to denote what North Americans would call a closet.
Types of cupboards
An airing cupboard is a storage space, sometimes of walk-in dimensions, containing a water heater; either an immersion heater for hot running water or a boiler for central heating water. Shelves, usually slatted to allow for circulation of heat, are positioned above or around the heater to provide storage for clothing, typically linen and towelling. The purpose is to allow air to circulate around the stored fabrics to prevent damp forming. A shelf can also be used to fully remove traces of damp from dried clothing before it is put away in drawers and wardrobes. Other names include "boiler cupboard", or (in Ireland) "hot press". Airing cupboards are mostly built-in (see below).
A built-in cupboard is a storage space that forms part of the design of the room and is not free-standing or moveable. It is not the same as a cabinet.
A linen cupboard is an enclosed recess of a room used for storing household linen and other things for storage, usually with shelves, or a free-standing piece of furniture for this purpose. See also article linen-press.
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- "Cupboard". The Free Dictionary By Farlex. Retrieved 19 May 2012.
- Andrews, John (2006) British Antique Furniture. Antique Collectors' Club ISBN 1-85149-444-8; p. 226
- Bravery, Suzanne (10 May 2008), "The Linen Cupboad", Mother's Day Address at Eryldene (PDF), Gordon, NSW: Eryldene Trust, retrieved 30 March 2009