One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
1North American A dealer in men's clothing.
- ‘A tailor and a haberdasher enter with new clothes and a new hat for the couple's return to her house in Padua.’
- ‘Drapers and milliners, haberdashers and tailors, mercers and glovers - these were the ubiquitous tradespeople and retailers of King Street.’
- ‘Mirror makers, picture framers, artists, cutlers, wig-makers, glass sellers, haberdashers and tailors all jostled for business alongside numerous coffee houses and taverns.’
- ‘The stylish haberdasher who caters to style needs of the fashion-challenged, is a rarity in these days of mass production.’
- ‘Of all his roles, however, he's probably best known to the world at large as a haberdasher to celebrities.’
2British A dealer in small items used in sewing.
- ‘They already appear to share the same barber, if not haberdasher.’
- ‘Each year has brought worse news, with one manufacturer after another going out of business, and most towns left with one haberdasher - if they're lucky.’
Middle English: probably based on Anglo-Norman French hapertas, perhaps the name of a fabric, of unknown origin. In early use the term denoted a dealer in a variety of household goods, later also specifically a hatter. Current senses date from the early 17th century.
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