A handkerchief // (also called a hanky or, historically, a handkercher) is a form of a kerchief, typically a hemmed square of thin fabric or paper which can be carried in the pocket or handbag, and which is intended for personal hygiene purposes such as wiping one's hands or face, or blowing one's nose. A handkerchief is also sometimes used as a purely decorative accessory in a suit pocket, it is then called a pocket square. It is also an important accessory in many folkdances in many regions like the Balkans and the Middle East; an example of a folkdance using handkerchiefs is Kalamatianos.
OriginBefore people used the word handkerchief, the word kerchief alone was common. This term came from two French words: couvrir, which means “to cover,” and chef, which means “head.”
In the times of ancient Greece and Rome, handkerchiefs were often used the way they are today. But in the Middle Ages, kerchiefs were usually used to cover the head.
Then in the 16th century, people in Europe began to carry kerchiefs in their pockets to wipe their forehead or their nose. To distinguish this kind of kerchief from the one used to cover the head, the word "hand" was added to "kerchief".
King Richard II of England, who reigned from 1377 to 1399, is widely believed to have invented the cloth handkerchief, as surviving documents written by his courtiers describe his use of square pieces of cloth to wipe his nose. Certainly they were in existence by Shakespeare's time, and a handkerchief is an important plot device in his play Othello.
I remember Mum tying a coin in the corner of my hankie, for the tuckshop at school. I found the knot hard to undo.
Men would wear a hankie, in their suit jacket pocket and the was a time when you could by 'fake' hankies, which were three triangles of fabric, stitched to a card, for this purpose.
I have lace-edged ones, ones with crochet edges, done by my Mum, ones from my childhood, that have special memories.
Do you use a hankie or tissues?
Bye for now,