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.’
- ‘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.’
- ‘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.’
- 1.1count noun The small racket used in the game of battledore.
- ‘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.’
- ‘The commoners too decorated their battledores, with colours which varied according to the local area.’
- ‘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.
- ‘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.’
- ‘She uses a wooden bat called a 'battledore' to beat the dirt out of them.’
Late Middle English (in battledore (sense 2 of the noun)): perhaps from Provençal batedor ‘beater’, from batre ‘to beat’.
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