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(This etymology is missing or incomplete. Please add to it, or discuss it at the Etymology scriptorium.)


battledore (plural battledores)

  1. A game played with a shuttlecock and rackets (properly battledore and shuttlecock); a forerunner of badminton.
  2. The racket used in this game.
  3. (obsolete) A child's hornbook for learning the alphabet.
    • 1802, William Hutton, The History of the Roman Wall, preface
      You will also pardon the errors of the Work, for you know I was not bred to letters; but, that the battledore, at an age not exceeding six, was the last book I used at school.
  4. (historical) A wooden paddle-shaped bat or beetle used to wash clothes by beating, stirring, or smoothing them.
    • 1563, John Foxe, chapter 21, in The Book of Martyrs:
      There is a large basin near the fountain, where numbers of women may be seen every day, kneeling at the edge of the water, and beating the clothes with heavy pieces of wood in the shape of battledores.
    • 2018 October 25, Taub, Matthew, “Why England Once Forced Everyone to Be Buried in Wool”, in Atlas Obscura[2]:
      The laundry process of the time [1665] consisted of boiling textiles with lye or soap and then beating them with a battledore, a rustic version of a cricket bat.

Derived terms[edit]