Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition.

  • noun A small flat absorbent pad used to medicate, protect, or absorb drainage from a wound or sore.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • noun A string of oakum, such as is used in calking the seams of a vessel.
  • noun A small plug; in surgery, a small flat mass of lint, absorbent cotton, etc., used, for example, to lay over a wound to absorb the matter discharged.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English.

  • noun Prov. End. A small plug.
  • noun (Naut.) A string of oakum used in calking.
  • noun (Med.) A compress, or small flat tent of lint, laid over a wound, ulcer, or the like, to exclude air, retain dressings, or absorb the matter discharged.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.

  • noun medicine A small flat absorbent pad of cotton or wool, used to medicate, drain, or protect a wound or sore.
  • noun A string of oakum used in calking.

Etymologies

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

[Origin unknown.]

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

English dialect, a small plug.

Examples

  • (Syrian incense), a fir — gum imported from Scio, is melted and allowed to cool in the form of a pledget.

    The Book of The Thousand Nights And A Night

  • In these cases (clearly perceiving that the symptoms were governed by the state of the arms) I applied on the inoculated pustules, and renewed the application three or four times within an hour, a pledget of lint, previously soaked in aqua lythargyri acetati

    On Vaccination Against Smallpox

  • In these cases (clearly perceiving that the symptoms were governed by the state of the arms) I applied on the inoculated pustules, and renewed the application three or four times within an hour, a pledget of lint, previously soaked in aqua lythargyri acetati

    On Vaccination Against Smallpox

  • I said as she turned up my upper lip and tucked a pledget of plastic under it.

    The Space Merchants

  • Every day the pledget which remains in the wound is to be drawn towards the most dependent part, so that the dressing in the wound may be daily renewed.

    Gilbertus Anglicus Medicine of the Thirteenth Century

  • If, however, the wound is large, a pledget (_pecia_) of lint, long enough to extend from one end to the other and project a little, is placed in the wound, and over this the exterior portion of the wound is to be carefully sewed, and sprinkled daily with the _pulvis ruber_.

    Gilbertus Anglicus Medicine of the Thirteenth Century

  • In these cases (clearly perceiving that the symptoms were governed by the state of the arms) I applied on the inoculated pustules, and renewed the application three or four times within an hour, a pledget of lint, previously soaked in aqua lythargyri acetati

    The Harvard Classics Volume 38 Scientific Papers (Physiology, Medicine, Surgery, Geology)

  • Upon the cranium and over the flaps of the scalp, as well as in their angles, the ordinary dressing of albumen is to be applied, covered by a pledget of lint and a suitable bandage.

    Gilbertus Anglicus Medicine of the Thirteenth Century

  • He set to work and made a good job of it, with a pledget of lint and strips of plaister, and meanwhile I speculated as to why, in all these bottles and jars and gallipots, neither nature nor art could contrive to store a drug magistral for the blow that had riven my heart asunder.

    The Yeoman Adventurer

  • And so saying, he lighted a little pledget of tow, previously steeped in turpentine, and, popping it into the tin vessel, clapped it on the head.

    Harper's New Monthly Magazine, Vol. 3, July, 1851

Comments

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  • "'Come, pledgets, ligatures, the leather-covered chain and my great double-handed retractor, if you please...'"

    --Patrick O'Brian, The Ionian Mission, 251

    February 14, 2008

  • It sounds as though it should be a tool of some sort, but no! It's "a small, flat mass of lint, absorbent cotton, or the like, for use on a wound, sore, etc."

    Except for that last part (about the wounds), I find many of these on laundry day. ;-)

    February 14, 2008

  • "'We have been as active as ants, carrying our sick to their bay and making all ready in the berth: lint galore, swabs, pledgets, chains, saws, gags. When do you suppose the action will begin?'"

    --Patrick O'Brian, The Nutmeg of Consolation, 155

    March 6, 2008