One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
One of a set of looped wires or cords in a loom, with an eye in the center through which a warp yarn is passed before going through the reed to control its movement and divide the threads.
- ‘He explains the complex task of laying out the long warp and threading the heddles.’
- ‘Adding heddles to the loom was like adding drums to the dance.’
- ‘Looms of this type are so named because they are fitted with a number of supplementary heddles that would be ‘drawn up’ by one or more assistants to the weaver.’
- ‘A single heddle makes a weave known as ‘tabby’, and by the use of several heddles quite complicated ‘twills’ and ‘herringbone’ patterns could be woven.’
- ‘A smaller variation of the belt-weaving loom, equipped with eight sets of heddles, is used to weave the silk headband worn at marriage by the women.’
Early 16th century: apparently from an alteration of Old English hefeld (see heald).
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