One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
1historical The metal point of a scabbard.
- ‘The scabbard occasionally had sheets of silver or gilded bronze applied to it to protect the mouth of the scabbard and the chape.’
- ‘As it reached the chape, it was again wound tightly in several layers to protect the more regularly damaged end of the sheath.’
- ‘Figures in the Bayeux tapestry dating from the 11th century show swords being worn in scabbards on belts around the waist, with a hanging strap preventing the chape from dragging on the ground.’
2The metal pin of a buckle.
- ‘My husband's sword pommel glittered gold, the chapes and buckles of his belts flashed silver.’
Middle English (in the general sense ‘plate of metal overlaying or trimming something’): from Old French, literally ‘cape, hood’, from late Latin cappa ‘cap’.
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