handkerchief


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handkerchief.

In classical Greece pieces of fine perfumed cotton, known as mouth or perspiration cloths, were often used by the wealthy. From the 1st cent. B.C., Roman men of rank used an oblong cloth of linen (the sudarium) chiefly to wipe perspiration from the face and hands. During the empire a square handkerchief of cotton or silk was carried, especially by women. The handkerchief was dropped by the praetors as a starting signal in the Roman games and was waved by spectators as a sign of approval. In the Middle Ages it was a prized possession and was conspicuously displayed by the wealthy. It was worn by knights in tournament as the symbol of a lady's favor. It came into general use in the Renaissance and was called a napkyn. Silk, cambric, and lawn, lavishly embroidered or laced, became fashionable for both men and women. Shapes were also varied. Today the handkerchief is more practical than decorative. Disposable paper handkerchiefs are used for all but very formal occasions. The handkerchief carried in the left hand of the officiating priest in the early Christian church evolved into a folded band that by the 12th cent. had become the maniple, worn on the left arm.
References in classic literature ?
This compelled Whiskey Dick to rise again, and as an act of careless good breeding to drop his handkerchief in it.
As soon as she had gone out of sight the children took the comb and the handkerchief, and, taking one another by the hand, they started and ran, and ran, and ran.
THEN he suggested that they should fill the pocket- handkerchief with onions, as a little present for his Aunt.
The handkerchief was indeed richly embroidered, and had a coronet and arms at one of its corners.
Pardon me, my friend, if I disturb you," said the man with the red handkerchief, "but I want to speak to you.
Here it is, sir," and the sailor took from his coat a handkerchief, tied at each corner.
Our natures had adapted themselves to circumstances, and we no longer pined for the luxuries of the linum usitatissimum, but were ready to enter into all the pleasures of our new existence; which we well understood was to be one of pure parade, for no handkerchief of our quality was ever employed on any of the more menial offices of the profession.
the king has lain on this bed; it is indeed his head that has left its impression on this pillow; his bitter tears that have stained this handkerchief: and yet, I hesitate to throw myself on the bed, or to press in my hand the handkerchief which is embroidered with my brother's arms.
I want five hundred rubles," and taking out her cambric handkerchief she began wiping her husband's waistcoat.
So they went to the second tent, which had shaggy edges because it has been made from the Shaggy Man's handkerchief, and found that completely furnished also.
The Yellow Handkerchief hesitated; but I repeated the order fiercely (much more fiercely than I felt), at the same time sending my hand to my hip.
He tossed his handkerchief to her with one hand, and picked up a fragment of the broken jug with the other.