antimacassar

antimacassar

[an-ti-muh-kas-er]
noun
a small covering, usually ornamental, placed on the backs and arms of upholstered furniture to prevent wear or soiling; a tidy.

Origin:
1850–55; anti- + Macassar (oil)

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Collins
World English Dictionary
antimacassar (ˌæntɪməˈkæsə)
 
n
a cloth covering the back and arms of chairs, etc, to prevent soiling or as decoration
 
[C19: from anti- + Macassar (oil)]

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
2009 © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
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Etymonline
Word Origin & History

antimacassar
coined 1852, from anti- + macassar oil, imported hair tonic from Indonesian island of Sulawesi. The cloth was laid to protect chair and sofa fabric from people leaning their oily heads back against it. Macassar is from native Mangkasara, name of a district on the island.
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Encyclopedia Britannica
Encyclopedia

antimacassar

protective covering thrown over the back of a chair or the head or cushions of a sofa, named after Macassar, a hair-oil in general use in the 19th century. The original antimacassars were made of stiff white crochet-work, but later soft, coloured materials, such as embroidered wools or silks, were used. In the 20th century the use of antimacassars largely died out.

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Encyclopedia Britannica, 2008. Encyclopedia Britannica Online.
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