Pronounced: pun-chuh-NELL-oh, noun
Notes: People with what I call a “classical education” (arts/opera) may know this word; I never learned much about either of these things.
The word plastron means
- the ventral part of the shell of a tortoise of turtle
- a trimming like a bib for a woman’s dress
- a man’s separate or detachable shirtfront
Background / Comments
This word came from French plastron (breastplate) – the protective plate worn by knights under a chain-mail tunic. It was so used in the 1500s; in the 1600s, it extended its meaning to the pad used to protect the torso of a fencer. Later (see below), herpetologists started using it for the underside of a turtle’s shell (typically nine bones overlaid by plates). From thence, it moved into the fashion world.
The word took on the meanings given above in the 1800s