Nautical. a short rope or wire rove through deadeyes to hold and tauten standing rigging.
any of various small cords or ropes for securing or suspending something, as a whistle about the neck or a knife from one's belt.
a cord with a small hook at one end, used in firing certain kinds of cannon.
a colored, single-strand cord worn around the left shoulder by a member of a military unit awarded a foreign decoration.
a white cord worn around the right shoulder, as by a military police officer, and secured to the butt of a pistol.
Also, laniard.

1475–85; blend of late Middle English lanyer (< Middle French laniere, Old French lasniere thong, equivalent to lasne noose + -iere, feminine of -ier -ier2) and yard1 Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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World English Dictionary
lanyard or laniard (ˈlænjəd)
1.  a cord worn around the neck, shoulder, etc, to hold something such as a whistle or knife
2.  a similar but merely decorative cord worn as part of a military uniform
3.  a cord with an attached hook used in firing certain types of cannon
4.  nautical a line rove through deadeyes for extending or tightening standing rigging
[C15 lanyer, from French lanière, from lasne strap, probably of Germanic origin]
laniard or laniard
[C15 lanyer, from French lanière, from lasne strap, probably of Germanic origin]

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

alternative spelling (influenced by nautical yard (2) "long beam used to support a sail") of M.E. lainer, "thong for fastening parts of armor or clothing" (late 14c.), from O.Fr. laniere "thong, lash," from lasniere, from lasne "strap, thong," apparently altered (by metathesis and influence of O.Fr.
las "lace") from nasliere, from Frank. *nastila, from P.Gmc. *nastila- (cf. O.H.G. nestila "lace, strap, band," Ger. nestel "string, lace, strap"), from PIE base *ned- "to knot."
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Example sentences
While rotating the steel lanyard watch for cuts, frayed areas, or unusual
  wearing patterns on the wire.
In this instance, a safety belt and lanyard were provided, and required when
  work was performed above ground.
Body belt means a strap that can be secured around the waist or body and
  attached to a lanyard, lifeline, or deceleration device.
The painter was wearing a safety belt and lanyard secured to a lifeline.
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