One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
1mass noun A game played with a shuttlecock and rackets, a forerunner of badminton.
- ‘Ethel and Edith Dillon, as they were known to their parents, were playing the then-fashionable game of battledore, an early version of table tennis, in the family home at Clonbrock House.’
- ‘The name ‘badminton’ comes from Badminton House, the Duke of Beaufort's residence in Gloucestershire (now Avon) where a new version of battledore had emerged by the end of the 1850's.’
- ‘His origins in the fashion industry are very visible in a print like 'Woman playing battledore' from the series 'Five figures of modern beauties'.’
- ‘He and I played games like marbles and shuttlecock and battledore.’
- 1.1count noun The small racket used in the game of battledore.
- ‘The commoners too decorated their battledores, with colours which varied according to the local area.’
- ‘I fear I ply my battledore so fiercely that the best of shuttlecocks has not time to right itself between the blows; but I will be steadier.’
- ‘Approximately 50 thousand battledores, with prices ranging from 1000 yen to 600,000 yen are sold at this time.’
- ‘Participants will paint pictures and designs on their own battledores and tops, and then play with them.’
- ‘The title refers to battledores that were often elaborately decorated, sometimes with images made out of pieces of cut coloured-cloth.’
2A wooden paddle-shaped implement formerly used in washing clothes for beating and stirring.
- ‘She uses a wooden bat called a 'battledore' to beat the dirt out of them.’
- ‘At a well near Kettleness in the West Riding the fairies were well known to wash their clothes by night, and the thumps of their "battledores" were heard even at Runswick.’
Late Middle English (in battledore (sense 2 of the noun)): perhaps from Provençal batedor ‘beater’, from batre ‘to beat’.
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