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or epaulette

[ep-uh-let, -lit, ep-uh-let] /ˈɛp əˌlɛt, -lɪt, ˌɛp əˈlɛt/
an ornamental shoulder piece worn on uniforms, chiefly by military officers.
Origin of epaulet
1775-85; < French épaulette, equivalent to épaule shoulder (< Latin spatula blade; see spatula) + -ette -ette Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for epaulette
Historical Examples
  • It is not here, nor now, that I am going to tell why I wear the epaulette no longer.

  • Wellmere fired, and the bullion flew from the epaulette of the trooper.

    The Spy J. Fenimore Cooper
  • I think they say, sir, she's gone to Colonel epaulette's lodge.

    Fontainbleau John O'Keeffe
  • The ball struck the epaulette on his left shoulder, and penetrated his chest.

    The Death of Lord Nelson

    William Beatty
  • Their attitude varied in accordance with the number of stars they had on their epaulette.

    Fighting France Stephane Lauzanne
  • He knows, too, that the grade of officer is open to merit alone, and he feels that the epaulette may be his own one day.

  • Duc was laughing: he reached over for an epaulette, tossed it up, caught it and threw it down with a guffaw.

    Romany of the Snows Gilbert Parker
  • They were made without sleeves, like a waistcoat, and an epaulette overhung the armhole.

    English Costume

    Dion Clayton Calthrop
  • Spurning buttons, he aspired to the epaulette, and was appointed paymaster to the 7th Hussars.

  • Long plain sleeves, ornamented round the top with a puffing of silk, forming an epaulette.

British Dictionary definitions for epaulette


/ˈɛpəˌlɛt; -lɪt/
a piece of ornamental material on the shoulder of a garment, esp a military uniform
Word Origin
C18: from French épaulette, from épaule shoulder, from Latin spatula shoulder blade; see spatula
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for epaulette



1783, from French épaulette (16c.), diminutive of épaule "shoulder," from Old French espaule (12c.), from Latin spatula "flat piece of wood, splint," later "shoulder blade," diminutive of spatha "broad wooden instrument, broad sword," from Greek spathe "a broad flat sword" (see spade (n.1)).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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