Word Traveler: From Head to Toe

This feature is for all word lovers as well as those studying for the SAT and seeking to learn new vocabulary.

You probably know that the end of a shoelace is an aglet. You may even be familiar with the havelock, the cloth hanging down from the back of a soldier's or field worker's hat as protection from the sun. But there are many other words and phrases that are more obscure, naming parts or items of clothing that you take for granted.

The portion of a cuff link that is poked through the cuff holes and then held in place with folded wings is an airplane-back. A badge or band worn on the arm is a brassard. The manufacturer's (or other decorative) mark on the side of a sock is a clock or quirk. The strips running along the sides of glove fingers that serve to connect the front and back of the gloves are the fourchettes.

Those one-size-fits-all baseball caps given out as promotions are called gimme caps. On a necktie, the thread that holds the lining in place and runs from one end to the other is the lifeline. The term to describe the springiness of wool as it comes back to shape after being crumpled is the loft. The opening on trousers (etc.) that contains the zipper, buttons, or other fastening device is the placket.

The armsaye or armscye (or armseye or scye) is the armhole in clothing, the hole in a shirt, sweater, jumper etc. through which you put your hand and arm. A bobble is a small ball of wool (etc.) as a decoration on a hat or other knitted clothing. If you are camisated, you are wearing a shirt on the outside over other clothing. Ease is the extra fabric in a piece of clothing that allows the wearer to move more easily. The word vest was originally a robe or gown and it comes from Latin vestire "to clothe, dress" and vestis "clothing, garment."

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