Treasure trove, sometimes rendered treasure-trove, literally means "treasure that has been found". The English term treasure trove was derived from tresor trové, the Anglo-French equivalent of the Latin legal term thesaurus inventus. In 15th-century English the Anglo-French term was translated as "treasure found", but from the 16th century it began appearing in its modern form with the French word trové anglicized as trovey, trouve or trove. The term wealth deposit has been proposed as a more accurate alternative.
The term treasure trove is often used metaphorically to mean a "valuable find", and hence a source of treasure, or a reserve or repository of valuable things. Trove is often used alone to refer to the concept, the word having been reanalysed as a noun via folk etymology from an original Anglo-French adjective trové (cognate to the French past participle trouvé, literally "found"). Treasure trove is therefore akin to similar Anglo-French or Anglo-French-derived legal terms whereby a post-positive adjective in a noun phrase (contrary to standard English syntax) has been reanalysed as a compound noun phrase, as in court martial, force majeure, and Princess Royal. Phrases of this form are often used either with the etymologically correct plural form (for example, "Courts-martial deal with serious offences ...") or as fully rederived plural forms (such as "... ordering court-martials ..."). In the case of treasure trove, the typical plural form is almost always treasure troves, with treasures trove found mostly in historical or literary works.