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What It Is:
: wig; specifically : one of a type popular from the 17th to the early 19th century
About the Word:
Peruke and the synonymous periwig both come from the Old Italian perrucca, meaning "head of hair" or "wig."
In the early 1600s, French King Louis XIII's perukes helped make the wig a fashion statement for the first time since the days of ancient Egypt.
Although it eventually fell out of fashion, the peruke has retained its place in the British legal system, where trial lawyers and judges still typically wear them. British legal perukes are made of horsehair and can cost as much as $4,000.