Words at Play : Favorite Pictures in the Dictionary
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#1: Peruke

Throughout the dictionary, hand-drawn illustrations support the written definitions – and help our readers picture unusual things. Here are some of our favorites.

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.

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May 24, 2015
erudite Hear it
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