Definitions

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

  • n. A piece of armor for protecting the breast and back.
  • n. The breastplate alone.
  • n. A defense or protection: "A carefully primped irony, that cuirass of art in the early Eighties, is necessary—a distance so affected as to constitute a hopeless impediment to feeling” ( Robert Hughes).
  • n. Zoology A protective covering of bony plates or scales.
  • transitive v. To protect with a cuirass.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. A piece of defensive armor, covering the body from the neck to the girdle.
  • n. The breastplate taken by itself.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n.
  • n. A piece of defensive armor, covering the body from the neck to the girdle.
  • n. The breastplate taken by itself.
  • n. An armor of bony plates, somewhat resembling a cuirass.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. A piece of defensive armor covering the body from the neck to the girdle, and combining a breastplate and a backpiece.
  • n. Any similar covering, as the protective armor of a ship; specifically, in zoology, some hard shell or other covering forming an indurated defensive shield, as the carapace of a beetle or an armadillo, the bony plates of a mailed fish, etc.

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

  • n. medieval body armor that covers the chest and back

Etymologies

Middle English curas, from Old French curasse, probably alteration (influenced by Old French cuir, leather) of Old Provençal coirassa, from Late Latin coriācea (vestis), leather (garment), feminine of coriāceus, from Latin corium, hide.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
From Old French cuirace, see Modern french cuirasse. (Wiktionary)

Examples

Comments

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  • A piece of armor for protecting the breast and back. / The breastplate alone.
    A defense or protection.
    Zoology: A protective covering of bony plates or scales.

    (Middle English curas, from Old French curasse, probably alteration (influenced by Old French cuir, leather) of Old Provençal coirassa, from Late Latin coricea (vestis), leather (garment), feminine of coriceus, from Latin corium, hide; see sker-1 in Indo-European roots.)

    June 2, 2007

  • This word cracks me up because it sounds vaguely obscene, and yet it's so stodgy and historical.

    May 9, 2007