Definition of epaulet
: something that ornaments or protects the shoulder: such asa : an ornamental fringed shoulder pad formerly worn as part of a military uniformb : an ornamental strip or loop sewn across the shoulder of a dress or coat
epaulettedplay \ˌe-pə-ˈle-təd, ˈe-pə-ˌle-\ adjective
epaulet was our Word of the Day on 03/28/2012. Hear the podcast!
Recent Examples of epaulet from the Web
Clarke’s four-star epaulets are standard for a chief of police or sheriff.
These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'epaulet'. Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.
Did You Know?
The epaulet gets its name from what it covers - the shoulder. It comes from the French word épaulette, the diminutive of "épaule," meaning shoulder. (Another accepted spelling of the English word - "epaulette" - mirrors the French.) "Épaule" itself, though, comes from the Latin word spatha, meaning "spoon" or "sword." This Latin word (which traces back to Greek spathē, meaning "blade of a sword" or "oar") is also the root of the word spade - as in the playing card suit. (The digging implement "spade" is also a relative though the connection is less direct.)
Origin and Etymology of epaulet
French épaulette, diminutive of épaule shoulder, from Old French espalle, from Late Latin spatula shoulder blade, spoon, diminutive of Latin spatha spoon, sword — more at spade
First Known Use: 1778
EPAULET Defined for English Language Learners
Definition of epaulet for English Language Learners
: a decorative piece on the shoulder of a uniform
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