A-Z of Shakespeare – K


Today’s Shakespearean word of the day is… kerchief

K - kerchief

kerchief is a cloth head-covering or scarf (similar to the illustration below).


In Julius Caesar, when sick Ligarius meets Brutus, he is wearing one to keep his head warm, but ‘He pulls off his kerchief’ to become part of the plot to kill Caesar (Julius Caesar, 2.1.321).

The word comes from ‘coverchief’, originally a French word meaning ‘cover for the head’.

Listen to the pronunciation of kerchief here


Shakespeare Dictionary _130This definition is taken from the Oxford Illustrated Shakespeare Dictionary, a unique dictionary to unlock the mysteries of Shakespeare’s world, words and language, compiled by renowned English language expert David Crystal and Shakespearean actor and producer Ben Crystal.