One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
1Gunnery. A metal plate covering the cheeks of a gun carriage. Now historical and rare.
2Saddlery. A metal plate on the cantle of a saddle-tree.
3Zoology. A bony or chitinous plate forming (part of) the outer surface of an animal's head; (in an arthropod) the head capsule, or one of the sclerites forming it; (in a reptile) any of the scales on the head.
Mid 17th century. From head + plate.
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