[ kur-chif, -cheef ]
/ ˈkɜr tʃɪf, -tʃif /


a woman's square scarf worn as a covering for the head or sometimes the shoulders.

Nearby words

  1. kerberos,
  2. kerbing,
  3. kerbside,
  4. kerbstone,
  5. kerch,
  6. kerchoo,
  7. kerel,
  8. kerenski,
  9. kerensky, aleksandr feodorovich,
  10. kereru

Origin of kerchief

1250–1300; Middle English kerchef, syncopated variant of keverchef < Old French cuevrechef literally, (it) covers (the) head. See cover, chief

Related formsker·chiefed, ker·chieft, adjective Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for kerchief

British Dictionary definitions for kerchief


/ (ˈkɜːtʃɪf) /


a piece of cloth worn tied over the head or around the neck
Derived Formskerchiefed, adjective

Word Origin for kerchief

C13: from Old French cuevrechef, from covrir to cover + chef head; see chief

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

Word Origin and History for kerchief



early 14c., curchef, earlier kovrechief (early 13c.), from Anglo-French courchief, Old French couvrechief, literally "cover head," from couvrir "to cover" (see cover) + chief "head" (see chief).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper