from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. In Italy, since the seventeenth century, the name given to a professed gallant and attendant of a married woman; one who dangles about women.
  • n. A bow of silk or ribbon with long pendent ends attached to a walking-stick, the hilt of a sword, or the handle of a fan.



The origin of this word is unknown. It may have meant 'in a whisper,' and have been imitative of a whispering sound.