One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
nounPlural handkerchiefs, Plural handkerchieves
A square of cotton or other finely woven material intended for wiping one's nose.
pocket handkerchiefView synonyms
- ‘He looked concerned, but she had no idea what he was saying as he offered her his handkerchief to wipe away the tears.’
- ‘Many tears were wiped in silk handkerchiefs yesterday morning, a few steps from the very popular Saint-Denis market.’
- ‘As late as the 1700s in certain parts of Europe, people of low birth were not allowed to blow their nose on handkerchiefs.’
- ‘Both of them soaked their handkerchiefs in water and wiped around their faces and necks.’
- ‘I watched as people cried, taking out handkerchiefs and trying to wipe their tears.’
- ‘His eyes began to dart back and forth and he took out a handkerchief and wiped his brow.’
- ‘I blew my nose in a napkin and blew my nose again on his handkerchief.’
- ‘He took a handkerchief and wiped Rebecca's face also then sat down on the ledge next to her.’
- ‘With the temperature in the high 80s that day, many people were carrying handkerchiefs to wipe their hands and faces.’
- ‘He sits repeatedly wiping his nose on his handkerchief, and then spreading it out on his lap like a napkin.’
- ‘She only managed a muffled squeak as he roughly shoved a handkerchief up to her nose.’
- ‘Few of the volunteers caught colds, and those that did blew their noses into paper handkerchiefs, which were then weighed and counted.’
- ‘Then we're all walking north - thousands of us, holding handkerchiefs to noses, coughing, a few in tears.’
- ‘Now, however, he was too ill to notice it - how the people in the car began to gasp and sputter, to put handkerchiefs to their noses, and transfix him with furious glances.’
- ‘I delve into my pocket and pull out my handkerchief to wipe away some of the sweat dripping down my face.’
- ‘He handed her a handkerchief and she wiped her eyes and face in between her sobs.’
- ‘Then he turned off the tap and took out a handkerchief and wiped his face.’
- ‘My nose had started running again, so I was armed with several handkerchiefs and blowing my nose profusely as we entered the dining room.’
- ‘You put your hand in your pocket, and you took up a handkerchief, and you wiped my prints off the blade.’
- ‘He pulled out his handkerchief and wiped some ice cream that had gotten on my cheek.’
Mid 16th century: from hand + kerchief.
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