[ tas-uhl ]
See synonyms for tassel on Thesaurus.com
  1. a pendent ornament consisting commonly of a bunch of threads, small cords, or other strands hanging from a roundish knob or head, used on clothing, in jewelry, on curtains, etc.

  2. something resembling this, as the inflorescence of certain plants, especially that at the summit of a stalk of corn.

verb (used with object),tas·seled, tas·sel·ing or (especially British) tas·selled, tas·sel·ling.
  1. to furnish or adorn with tassels.

  2. to form into a tassel or tassels.

  1. to remove the tassel from (growing corn) in order to improve the crop.

verb (used without object),tas·seled, tas·sel·ing or (especially British) tas·selled, tas·sel·ling.
  1. (of corn) to put forth tassels (often followed by out).

Origin of tassel

1250–1300; Middle English (noun) <Old French tas(s)el fastening for cloak <Vulgar Latin *tassellus, blend of Latin tessella (diminutive of tessera die for gaming) and taxillus (diminutive of tālus die for gaming). See tessellate, talus1

Other words from tassel

  • tas·sel·er; especially British, tas·sel·ler, noun
  • tas·sel·ly; especially British, tas·sel·ly, adjective
  • de·tas·sel, verb (used with object), de·tas·seled, de·tas·sel·ing or (especially British) de·tas·selled, de·tas·sel·ling.
  • un·tas·seled, adjective
  • un·tas·selled, adjective

Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023

How to use tassel in a sentence

  • Scoutmaster Estey waved his hand toward his assistant in the blue shirt and tasseled cap.

    A Scout of To-day | Isabel Hornibrook
  • A golden, netted girdle was knotted loosely about her loins, the tasseled ends of it dragging upon the floor.

  • The careless insolence of the inspectors with the green-tasseled canes at once filled him with indignation and depression.

    The Bright Shawl | Joseph Hergesheimer

British Dictionary definitions for tassel


/ (ˈtæsəl) /

  1. a tuft of loose threads secured by a knot or ornamental knob, used to decorate soft furnishings, clothes, etc

  2. anything resembling this tuft, esp the tuft of stamens at the tip of a maize inflorescence

verb-sels, -selling or -selled or US -sels, -seling or -seled
  1. (tr) to adorn with a tassel or tassels

  2. (intr) (of maize) to produce stamens in a tuft

  1. (tr) to remove the tassels from

Origin of tassel

C13: from Old French, from Vulgar Latin tassellus (unattested), changed from Latin taxillus a small die, from tālus gaming die

Derived forms of tassel

  • tasselly, adjective

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