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cuirass

[kwi-ras] /kwɪˈræs/
noun
1.
Also called corselet. defensive armor for the torso comprising a breastplate and backplate, originally made of leather.
2.
either of the plates forming such armor.
3.
any similar covering, as the protective armor of a ship.
4.
Zoology. a hard shell or other covering forming an indurated defensive shield.
verb (used with object)
5.
to equip or cover with a cuirass.
Origin
1425-1475
1425-75; < French cuirasse < Late Latin coriācea, noun use of feminine of coriāceus (adj.) leather, equivalent to Latin cori(um) leather + -āceus -aceous; replacing late Middle English curas < Middle French curasse, variant of cuirasse
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Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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British Dictionary definitions for cuirasses

cuirass

/kwɪˈræs/
noun
1.
a piece of armour, of leather or metal covering the chest and back
2.
a hard outer protective covering of some animals, consisting of shell, plate, or scales
3.
any similar protective covering, as on a ship
verb
4.
(transitive) to equip with a cuirass
Word Origin
C15: from French cuirasse, from Late Latin coriacea, from coriaceus made of leather, from Latin corium leather
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
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Word Origin and History for cuirasses

cuirass

n.

"armor for the chest and back," mid-15c., from Middle French cuirasse (15c.), from Late Latin coriacea vestis "garment of leather," from Latin corium "leather, hide" (see corium). Cognate with Italian corazza, Spanish coraza, Portuguese couraça.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Encyclopedia Article for cuirasses

cuirass

body armour that protects the torso of the wearer above the waist or hips. Originally it was a thick leather garment covering the body from neck to waist, consisting of a breastplate and a backpiece fastened together with straps and buckles and a gorget, a collar protecting the throat. In Homeric and Hellenistic times, it was made of bronze. Cuirasses of leather as well as iron were worn by officers in the armies of the Roman Empire. Later made of steel, the cuirass was forerunner to the body armour worn to deflect bullets.

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Encyclopedia Britannica, 2008. Encyclopedia Britannica Online.
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