Sunday, August 20, 2017

Hemming a handkerchief, 1901

Happy Hours in Story Land.  New York:  McLoughlin Bros., 1901.

How kids spent their leisure time before smart phones.

handkerchief (n.) 1520s, from hand + kerchief, originally "cloth for covering the head," but since Middle English used generally as "piece of cloth used about the person." A curious confluence of words for "hand" and "head." By-form handkercher was in use 16c.-19c. A dropped handkerchief as a token of flirtation or courtship is attested by mid-18c.

I'm not up on contemporary courtship etiquette, but is a dropped cellphone today's token of flirtation?

No comments: