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Wrap up warm 2

December 5, 2010

What did people wear in winters past? The first reference to scarf, as a covering for the neck and shoulders, dates from 1562; as a garment specifically for keeping warm, from 1823. With the Historical Thesaurus to the OED you can also discover how the language of keeping warm has changed over hundreds of winters. For 200 years before the warming scarf, there was the muffler (1592), followed by the neck-comforter (1853) and the muffetee (1890). ‘Glove’, meanwhile, is an Old English word, and was followed by the fambler (1610) and fam-snatcher (1828). On the other hand, mitten has been traced to the 1280s.