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.

Yesterday’s word

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.

First usage

The word took on the meanings given above in the 1800s

Published by Richard

Christian, lover-of-knowledge, Texan, and other things.

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