Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • n. A bunch of loose threads or cords bound at one end and hanging free at the other, used as an ornament on curtains or clothing, for example.
  • n. Something that resembles such an ornament, especially the pollen-bearing inflorescence of a corn plant.
  • transitive v. To fringe or decorate with tassels.
  • intransitive v. To put forth a tassellike inflorescence. Used especially of corn.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. A ball-shaped bunch of plaited or otherwise entangled threads from which at one end protrudes a cord on which the tassel is hung, and which may have loose, dangling threads at the other end. Tassels are normally decorative elements, and as such one often finds them attached, usually along the bottom hem, to garments, curtains or other hangings.
  • n. The male inflorescence of maize, which consists of loose threads with anthers on them.
  • n. The loose hairs at the end of a braid.
  • v. to adorn with tassels

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. A male hawk. See tercel.
  • n. A kind of bur used in dressing cloth; a teasel.
  • n. A pendent ornament, attached to the corners of cushions, to curtains, and the like, ending in a tuft of loose threads or cords.
  • n. The flower or head of some plants, esp. when pendent.
  • n. A narrow silk ribbon, or the like, sewed to a book to be put between the leaves.
  • n. A piece of board that is laid upon a wall as a sort of plate, to give a level surface to the ends of floor timbers; -- rarely used in the United States.
  • intransitive v. To put forth a tassel or flower.
  • transitive v. To adorn with tassels.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • To attach a tassel or tassels to; decorate with tassels of any kind.
  • To remove the tassel from (growing Indian corn), for the purpose of improving the crop. First Annual Report of Kansas Experiment Station.
  • To put forth a tassel: said of trees or plants, especially of maize.
  • n. A pendent ornament, consisting generally of a roundish mold covered with twisted threads of silk, wool, etc., which hang down in a thick fringe.
  • n. Anything resembling a tassel, as the pendent head or flower of some plants; specifically, the staminate inflorescence at the summit of the stalk of Indian corn (maize); also, locally, the bunch of so-called “silk” protruding from the top of an ear of maize.
  • n. In heraldry, a bearing representing a tassel, usually or.
  • n. Eccles., a small plate of beaten gold or silver, sometimes jeweled, sewed on the back of a bishop's glove.
  • n. A small ribbon of silk sewed to a book, to be put between the leaves.
  • n. An obsolete form of teazel.
  • n. Same as tussle.
  • n. Same as tercel.
  • n. In architecture, same as torsel.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • n. adornment consisting of a bunch of cords fastened at one end

Etymologies

Middle English, from Old French, fastening, clasp, from Vulgar Latin *tassellus, blend of Latin tessella, small die; see tessellate, taxillus, diminutive of tālus, knucklebone, ankle.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
From Old French tassel. (Wiktionary)

Examples

  • Is it sad that I want a curtain tassel for a earring now?

    Do you remember the time? (I don't!)

  • (For those of you who don't know me, I actually have a nice chapeau [ "hat" in French] with a tassel from the University of Michigan School of Social Work where I trained to be a therapist in grad school.)

    Il Faut Cultiver Votre Jardin

  • Tom, who stood by her, idly spinning the curtain tassel, followed the familiar figure with his eye, and seeing how gray the hair had grown, how careworn the florid face, and how like a weary old man his once strong, handsome father walked, he was smitten by a new pang of self-reproach, and with his usual impetuosity set about repairing the omission as soon as he discovered it.

    An Old-Fashioned Girl

  • 'That tassel, ma'm? why that tassel is - a fancy of the prisoner's own; we allow them to have their little fancies!'

    Letters and Memorials of Jane Welsh Carlyle

  • As corn plants mature, seed companies hire crews of mostly students at about $8 an hour to remove the tops—called the tassel.

    Midwest Teenage Rite Ends in Tragedy

  • Clayton Hauck for The Wall Street Journal As corn plants mature, seed companies hire crews of mostly students at about $8 an hour to remove the tops—called the tassel.

    Two Girls Killed in Corn Field Accident

  • At all events the tassel was a warning, a terror, and a hope.

    Ranald Bannerman's Boyhood

  • There is a certain sensation in finding one's self invested with the academic gown, conspicuous by its red facings, and the cap with its square top and depending tassel, which is not without its accompanying satisfaction.

    Complete Project Gutenberg Oliver Wendell Holmes, Sr. Works

  • The first buckles round the waist, and has a pouch for holding the arrows fixed to it on the right side, while on the left is the tassel, which is used for wiping the heads of the arrows when they have entered the ground.

    The Lady's Country Companion: or, How to Enjoy a Country Life Rationally

  • As corn plants mature, seed companies hire crews of mostly students at about $8 an hour to remove the tops-called the tassel.

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