\ \ [14] No one is too sure what Anglo-Norman hapertas meant – perhaps ‘piece of cloth’, perhaps ‘small goods’ – but it is the nearest we can come to the origin of that curious word haberdasher. The theory is that it had an Anglo-Norman derivative, *habertasser or *haberdasser, never actually recorded, which passed into Middle English as haberdassher.
\ \ The term seems originally to have denoted a ‘seller of small fancy goods’ – and indeed in the 16th and 17th centuries it was often used synonymously with milliner, which had a similar broad meaning in those days – but gradually it passed into two more specific applications, ‘seller of hats’ (now obsolete in British English, but surviving in the American sense ‘seller of men’s hats, gloves, etc’) and ‘seller of dressmaking accessories’.

Word origins - 2ed. . 2005.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Haberdasher — Hab er*dash er (h[a^]b [ e]r*d[a^]sh [ e]r), n. [Prob. fr. Icel. hapurtask trumpery, trifles, perh. through French. It is possibly akin to E. haversack, and to Icel. taska trunk, chest, pocket, G. tasche pocket, and the orig. sense was perh.,… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • haberdasher — (n.) early 14c., seller of various small articles of trade (late 13c. as a surname), agent noun from Anglo Fr. hapertas small wares, also a kind of fabric, of unknown origin. Sense of dealer in men s wares is 1887 in American English, via… …   Etymology dictionary

  • haberdasher — ► NOUN 1) Brit. a dealer in dressmaking and sewing goods. 2) N. Amer. a dealer in men s clothing. DERIVATIVES haberdashery noun. ORIGIN probably from Old French hapertas, perhaps the name of a fabric …   English terms dictionary

  • haberdasher — [hab′ər dash΄ər, hab′ədash΄ər] n. [ME haberdashere, prob. < Anglo Fr hapertas, kind of cloth] 1. a person whose work or business is selling men s furnishings, such as hats, shirts, neckties, and gloves 2. Brit. a dealer in various small… …   English World dictionary

  • Haberdasher — A haberdasher is a person who sells small articles for sewing, such as buttons, ribbons and zippers. [ Oxford English Dictionary , 2nd edition, 1989: A dealer in small articles appertaining to dress, as thread, tape, ribbons, etc.] In U.S.… …   Wikipedia

  • haberdasher — [[t]hæ̱bə(r)dæʃə(r)[/t]] haberdashers 1) N COUNT A haberdasher or a haberdasher s is a shop where small articles for sewing are sold. [BRIT] 2) N COUNT A haberdasher is a shopkeeper who makes and sells men s clothes. [AM] (in BRIT, use tailor) 3) …   English dictionary

  • haberdasher — noun /ˈhæb.ɜː(ɹ)ˌdæʃ.ə(ɹ)/ a) A dealer in ribbons, buttons, thread, needles and similar sewing goods. b) A mens outfitter, usually a mens haberdasher …   Wiktionary

  • haberdasher — [14] No one is too sure what Anglo Norman hapertas meant – perhaps ‘piece of cloth’, perhaps ‘small goods’ – but it is the nearest we can come to the origin of that curious word haberdasher. The theory is that it had an Anglo Norman derivative,… …   The Hutchinson dictionary of word origins

  • haberdasher — noun Etymology: Middle English haberdassher, from modification of Anglo French hapertas kind of cloth Date: 14th century 1. British a dealer in notions 2. a dealer in men s clothing and accessories …   New Collegiate Dictionary

  • haberdasher — /hab euhr dash euhr/, n. 1. a retail dealer in men s furnishings, as shirts, ties, gloves, socks, and hats. 2. Chiefly Brit. a dealer in small wares and notions. [1275 1325; ME haberdasshere, of obscure orig.; cf. AF habredache haberdashery,… …   Universalium

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