One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
bedspread, cover, coverlet, throw-over, blanket, afghan, quiltView synonyms
- ‘He ensured there were Tudor roses on the gowns of the staff and on the Tudor coloured counterpanes of the beds; the roof and stained glass windows were also of royal quality.’
- ‘The replica beds with their counterpanes, striped canopy wall direction and curtains together with the warm glow from the twin overbed lamps provide an interior of great style.’
- ‘The roomy double bedroom suites were originally plainly decorated, their walls covered with sea grass, the beds under light-colored candlewick counterpanes, and pale Wilton wall-to-wall carpeting.’
- ‘We talk in his room with its single bed, bumpily spread with a candlewick counterpane in a cosy shade of plum.’
- ‘He lay under the thick counterpane in the large bed, his body sinking into the mattress, the mass of pillows holding his head so he could see out through the windows.’
Early 17th century: alteration of counterpoint, from Old French contrepointe, based on medieval Latin culcitra puncta ‘quilted mattress’ ( puncta, literally meaning ‘pricked’, from the verb pungere). The change in the ending was due to association with pane in an obsolete sense ‘cloth’.
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