Jan 27, 2016

Etymology Expeditions: Curious Clothing

I thought we'd explore some clothing terms this week.

Crinoline comes from French crinoline "hair cloth." Corset is from Old French corset, a diminutive of corps, "body."

Skirt is from Old Norse skyrta, which interestingly enough meant shirt or kirtle. Dress used to mean any kind clothing, and the women's garment thing is only from the 1630s.

Cravat is from French cravate "Croatian." Cravats came into fashion in 1650 in imitation of the linen scarves Croatian mercenaries wore in the French army in the Thirty Years War. Tie, on the other hand, is from Proto-Germanic taugo, from PIE root deuk- "to pull, to lead."

Frock coat, from Old French froc "a monk's habit." Another theory traces it to Latin floccus "flock of wool." Coat is from Old French cote "wooden mantle."

Tuxedo is a fun word, but the origins are boring: it comes from Tuxedo park in New York. Apparently there was a country club in the park, and that's where the tuxedo was first worn.

The "zoot" in zoot suit is apparently just a nonsense reduplication of "suit." Bah. No fun.

Pantaloons comes from Pantaloun, a silly old character in Italian comedy who wore tight trousers over his skinny legs. The name is of Greek origin and means "all-compassionate."Pants is a shortened form of this.

Bonus: Pret a porter, from French prêt à porter from Latin praestus "ready" + porter "to carry."


No comments:

Post a Comment

Hello, stranger. What's on your mind?