American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition
- n. A shoulder ornament, especially a fringed strap worn on military uniforms.
Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia
- n. A shoulder-piece; an ornamental badge worn on the shoulder; specifically, a strap proceeding from the collar, and terminating on the shoulder in a disk, from which depends a fringe of cord, usually in bullion, but sometimes in worsted or other material, according to the rank of the wearer, etc. Epaulets were worn in the British army until 1855, and are still worn in the navy by all officers of and above the rank of lieutenant, and by some civil officers. They were worn by all officers in the United States army until 1872; since that time only general officers wear them; all other commissioned officers wear shoulder-knots of gold bullion. All United States naval officers above the grade of ensign wear epaulets. In the French army the private soldiers wear epaulets of worsted. See shoulder-strap, shoulder-knot.
- n. The shoulder-piece in the armor of the fourteenth century, especially when small and fitting closely to the person, as compared with the large pauldron of later days.
- n. The shoulder-covering of splints forming part of the light and close-fitting armor of the sixteenth century.
- n. In dressmaking, an ornament for the shoulder, its form changing with the different fashions.
- n. In entomology, the tegula or plate covering the base of the anterior wing in hymenopterous insects.
GNU Webster's 1913
- n. (Mil.) A shoulder ornament or badge worn by military and naval officers, differences of rank being marked by some peculiar form or device, as a star, eagle, etc.; a shoulder knot.
- n. adornment consisting of an ornamental cloth pad worn on the shoulder
- French épaulette, diminutive of épaule, shoulder, from Old French espaule, from Late Latin spatula, shoulder blade; see espalier. (American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
“You can go with a standard, french or covered placket and contrast with some color or add in some shoulder elements (military/epaulet, double strip, fabric contrast) and play with some pocket options (single notch, double flap, fabric contrast).”
“There is unit number on the epaulet but I can't make it out.”
“The buff linings of the turned-back cuffs extended a good six inches up the sleeve, and a small coil of gold braid gleamed from one epaulet.”
“At every appearance, her new baby was hanging on her shoulder like it was an epaulet.”
“But now it turns out that on the other epaulet was perched the principled figure of Taylor Branch, not at all claiming to be a harp-strummer himself but insistently reminding his old friend that there were better angels in politics and humanity whose claims should not be scorned.”
“Fresh from wardrobe, Ralph ridiculously sports a blue and gold epaulet costume and long leather whip.”
“I once had a sparrow alight upon my shoulder for a moment, while I was hoeing in a village garden, and I felt that I was more distinguished by that circumstance that I should have been by any epaulet I could have worn.”
“As soon as he found it, health, strength, spirits, energy, returned to him, and with the tap of the epaulet on his shoulder he sprang up an altered being.”
“The father would bring him sweetmeats from the dessert and hide them in a certain old epaulet box, where the child went to seek them, and laughed with joy on discovering the treasure; laughed, but not too loud: for mamma was below asleep and must not be disturbed.”
“The other, a gray-haired female wearing a captain's epaulet on her uniform, had no mouth, nor was the rest of her face a pretty sight.”
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