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

  • n. A collared, usually ruffled covering for the neck and shoulders, popular in 16th-century Europe and worn especially by women.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. A covering for the neck, and sometimes for the shoulders and breast; originally worn by both sexes, but later by women alone; a ruff.
  • n. A hen; -- so called from the ruffing of her neck feathers.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. A garment for the neck and shoulders, especially for women.
  • n. A hen.


Alteration of Middle English patelet, from Old French patelete, band of cloth, diminutive of pate, paw; see patois.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
Origin unknown; perhaps a diminutive form of pert. (Wiktionary)
Origin unknown. (Wiktionary)


  • Counterbalancing this is the quasi-Egyptian inscrutability of her eyes; the mask-like ivory oval of her face; the light blue halo effect around her head; the shield-like rigidity of her bodice; and the chain-mail of her pearl and gold partlet.

    Bronzino's Medici portraits – review

  • Nathalie: One could make a good argument for the Elizabethan partlet being a proto-dickey.

    Today's Pattern Story and Sale - A Dress A Day

  • Catherine Seyton presently exclaimed, “They were bearing the dishes across the court, marshalled by the Lady Lochleven herself, dressed out in her highest and stiffest ruff, with her partlet and sleeves of cyprus, and her huge old-fashioned farthingale of crimson velvet.”

    The Abbot

  • The angels minister to the tyrants; or the gentle, hen-pecked husband cowers before the superior partlet.

    The Kickleburys on the Rhine

  • A partlet filled the square neck of her gown, not allowing him the tiniest glimpse of skin.

    Tempted by Your Touch

  • Beneath the cloak her chest was covered with a partlet and flattened by her stays and bodice.

    Tempted by Your Touch

  • A smudge of black marred her cheek and the ribbon on her partlet was undone.

    Tempted by Your Touch

  • She moved in front of Fayth, adjusting the partlet that hid her modest bosom—as well as the rack of ribs and jutting collarbones stretching her translucent skin.

    Tempted by Your Touch

  • With her partlet gone it peeked out the top of her bodice.

    Tempted by Your Touch

  • His wife comely as a girl, hair down and beribboned, partlet lost—as if out maying.

    Tempted by Your Touch


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  • n garment for neck and shoulders, usually ruffled and having a collar

    August 15, 2008