plastron

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noun plas·tron \ˈpla-strən\

Definition of plastron

  1. 1a :  a metal breastplate formerly worn under the hauberkb :  a quilted pad worn in fencing to protect the chest, waist, and the side on which the weapon is held

  2. 2 :  the ventral part of the shell of a tortoise or turtle consisting typically of nine symmetrically placed bones overlaid by horny plates

  3. 3a :  a trimming like a bib for a woman's dressb :  dickey 1a

  4. 4 :  a thin film of air held by water-repellent hairs of some aquatic insects

plastron was our Word of the Day on 01/09/2014. Hear the podcast!

Recent Examples of plastron from the Web

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'plastron'. Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

Did You Know?

English speakers first borrowed French's word for a breastplate, plastron, as the name for the protective plate worn under a tunic of [chain mail](/dictionary/chain mail) by knights. In the 17th century, plastron was extended to the pad used to protect the torso of a fencer. Two centuries later, herpetologists appropriated the word for a slightly different type of protection: the underside of a turtle's shell, which consists typically of nine bones overlaid by horny plates. That was followed by the word's application in the world of fashion to coverings that adorn the front of a woman's bodice, such as a lacy bib, as well as to a man's separate or detachable starched shirtfront (which is typically worn under a jacket).

Origin and Etymology of plastron

Middle French, from Old Italian piastrone, augmentative of piastra thin metal plate — more at piastre


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