One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
A short cloak worn by women especially during the 18th cent.
Early 18th century; earliest use found in Bill. Perhaps from the name of Antoine-Gaston, Duc deRoquelaure, although the use of the word so early in the Duke's lifetime may be problematic, the vowel quantity of the early examples is unclear, and the ending differs significantly from that of the surname. Compare French roquelaure, although this is first recorded later and apparently only as the name of a man's garment.
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