One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
A V-shaped piece of decorative cloth, worn over the chest and stomach by men and women in the 16th century, later only by women.
- ‘Yet on ballads, many decollete ladies, described as merchant's daughters, milkmaids, cook maids and shepherdesses, appear in the guise of royal queens and mistresses, dressed in expensive slays, gowns and stomachers.’
- ‘Fashioned in a sack-back style, it has a buttoned stomacher that is typical of the 1770s.’
- ‘She wore a dress of silver tissue and a stomacher covering the whole centre part of her bodice, set with a number of very large diamonds, worth quite extravagant sums according to the Duchess of Northumberland.’
- ‘She looked over the maid's shoulder and spotted a stomacher and a high-waisted gown on his bed.’
- ‘Pinning the white stomacher into the dress, I turned before the mirror, admiring myself.’
Late Middle English: probably a shortening of Old French estomachier, from estomac (see stomach).
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