tassel

tassel

[tas-uhl]
noun
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), tasseled, tasseling or (especially British) tasselled, tasselling.
3.
to furnish or adorn with tassels.
4.
to form into a tassel or tassels.
5.
to remove the tassel from (growing corn) in order to improve the crop.
verb (used without object), tasseled, tasseling or (especially British) tasselled, tasselling.
6.
(of corn) to put forth tassels (often followed by out ).

Origin:
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

tasseler; especially British, tasseller, noun
tasselly; especially British, tasselly, adjective
detassel, verb (used with object), detasseled, detasseling or (especially British) detasselled, detasselling.
untasseled, adjective
untasselled, adjective
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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World English Dictionary
tassel (ˈtæsəl)
 
n
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
 
vb , -sels, -selling, -selled, -sels, -seling, -seled
3.  (tr) to adorn with a tassel or tassels
4.  (intr) (of maize) to produce stamens in a tuft
5.  (tr) to remove the tassels from
 
[C13: from Old French, from Vulgar Latin tassellus (unattested), changed from Latin taxillus a small die, from tālus gaming die]
 
'tasselly
 
adj

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

tassel
c.1300, "mantle fastener," from O.Fr. tassel "a fastening, clasp" (c.1150), from V.L. *tassellus, said to be from L. taxillus "small die or cube," a dim. of talus "knucklebone, ankle" (see talus (1)). But OED finds this doubtful and calls attention to the variant form tossel
and suggests association with toss (v.). Meaning "hanging bunch of small cords" is first recorded late 14c.
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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