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Officer Cadet F. Welch of the Royal Artillery (UK) wearing a ceremonial lanyard (sense 2) on his left shoulder.[n 2] In the 19th century, an artillery soldier would use a lanyard to hold a key for inserting, adjusting, and removing the fuzes of artillery shells.
A Wikimania 2016 participant with her conference pass and name tag on a lanyard (sense 2) around her neck.
A four-color lanyard (sense 3) with a helical pattern.
A United States Army soldier pulling the lanyard (sense 4) of an M777 howitzer artillery weapon to fire it.

From Late Middle English lainer, lainere, lanyer (strap or thong used to fasten armour, shields, clothing, etc.) [and other forms][1] (with the ending modified in the 17th century under the influence of yard),[2] from Old French laniere, lasniere (thong, lash) (modern French lanière (lanyard, strap; (by extension) a strip)),[3] from lasne (strap, thong; noose; snare), a metathetic alteration of nasle, nasliere (strap, thong), influenced by lane (wool), las (lace of a boot, shoe, etc.), or laz (snare, trap; pitfall); nasliere is derived from Old Dutch *nastila (headband; tie), from Proto-West Germanic *nastilu (strap; thread; tie), from Proto-Indo-European *ned- (to tie together). The English word is cognate with Old High German nestila (band, headband; strap) (modern German Nestel (lace; strap; string)), Old Norse nesta (brace; fastener, strap).



lanyard (plural lanyards)

  1. (nautical) A short rope used for fastening rigging, as a handle, etc.
  2. (by extension) A cord worn around the neck, shoulder, or wrist which is attached to a small object to be carried such as an identity card or security pass, key, knife, or whistle.
    • 1881–1882, Robert Louis Stevenson, “The Voyage”, in Treasure Island, London, Paris: Cassell & Company, published 14 November 1883, →OCLC, part II (The Sea Cook), pages 79–80:
      Aboard ship he carried his crutch by a lanyard round his neck, to have both hands as free as possible. [...] [H]e would hand himself from one place to another, now using the crutch, now trailing it alongside by the lanyard, as quickly as another man could walk.
  3. A craft activity done by intricately braiding thin colored plastic lines to make patterns, or the product of such a craft.
    • 2006 07, Melissa J. Morgan, Natalie's Secret, ABDO, →ISBN, page 48:
      It's lanyard. It's a camp tradition. You'll have about a million lanyard key chains by the time the summer is over.
    • 2008, Natalie Angier, The Canon, page 58:
      A few lousy days at Camp Minnehaha spent extracting oar splinters from your palms and taking group lanyard lessons under the full noonday sun.
  4. (by extension, military) A cord with a hook which is secured to an artillery piece, and pulled to fire the weapon.

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Related terms[edit]



  1. ^ From the collection of the Auckland War Memorial Museum in Auckland, New Zealand.
  2. ^ From the collection of the Imperial War Museum, UK.


  1. ^ lainer(e, n.”, in MED Online, Ann Arbor, Mich.: University of Michigan, 2007.
  2. ^ lanyard, n.”, in Lexico,; Oxford University Press, 2019–2022.
  3. ^ lanyard, n.”, in OED Online Paid subscription required, Oxford, Oxfordshire: Oxford University Press, 1901.

Further reading[edit]