One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
1A short, close-fitting jacket, worn by women and children in the early 19th century.
- ‘Miss Howitt's dress was in the height of fashion; blue silk spencer over a white round dress with several flounces at the hem, complemented by a yellow paisley shawl draped over her shoulders.’
- ‘‘Of course,’ he mumbled, hesitating a moment before easing Amanda's arms out of her spencer, while the woman removed her shoes and stockings.’
- 1.1 A thin woollen vest, worn by women for extra warmth in winter.
Probably named after the second Earl Spencer (1758–1834), English politician.
Mid 19th century: of unknown origin.
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