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Woman wearing a headdress with lappets
Portrait of Girolamo Savonarola wearing a Florentine cap with ear lappets


lap +‎ -et


  • (file)
  • Rhymes: -æpɪt


lappet (plural lappets)

  1. A small decorative fold or flap, especially of lace or muslin, in a garment or headdress.
    • c. 1575, The Langham letter[1], page 47:
      Oout of hiz boozom drawn foorth a lappet of his napkin, edged with a blu la[c]e, and marked with a trulooue, a hart & a D, for Damian: for he waz but a bachelar yet.
    • 1726 October 28, [Jonathan Swift], Travels into Several Remote Nations of the World. [] [Gulliver’s Travels], London: [] Benj[amin] Motte, [], →OCLC, (please specify |part=I to IV), page 161:
      [] lifting up the Lappet of his Coat, he put me gently into it, and immediately ran along with me to his Master []
    • 1749, [John Cleland], “(Please specify the letter or volume)”, in Memoirs of a Woman of Pleasure [Fanny Hill], London: [] G. Fenton [i.e., Fenton and Ralph Griffiths] [], →OCLC, pages 202-203:
      [] he was presently undrest, all to his shirt, the fore-lappet of which, as he lean’d languishingly on me, he smilingly pointed to me, to observe, as it bellied out, or rose, and fell, according to the unruly starts of the motion behind it:
    • 1815, William Hazlitt, “Mr. Harley’s Fidget”, in A View of the English Stage[2], London: John Warren, published 1821, page 139:
      He wears [] a white wig, the curls of which hang down like lappets over his shoulders, and form a good contrast with the plump, rosy, shining face beneath it.
    • 1842, [anonymous collaborator of Letitia Elizabeth Landon], chapter XXXIX, in Lady Anne Granard; or, Keeping up Appearances. [], volume II, London: Henry Colburn, [], →OCLC, page 192:
      Her rich, becoming dress fitted her perfect shape most admirably, and Fanchette had never arranged her coiffure to more advantage; the rich lappet of blonde, carelessly tied under the chin, hid all the "defeatures time had made," without hiding the long white throat, for which she had always been remarkable, and was a beauty which had descended to all her daughters, even to the stigmatized Isabella.
    • 1986, Hortense Calisher, The Bobby-Soxer[3], Garden City, NY: Doubleday, Part 2, p. 122:
      I have small breasts that lie flattened against the chest like lappets.
    • 2012, Hilary Mantel, chapter 2, in Bring Up the Bodies[4], New York: Henry Holt, page 86:
      She raises her face to the light. ‘How do you think I look? What will you say of me when the king asks you? I have not seen myself in a mirror these many months.’ She pats her fur cap, pulls its lappets over her ears; laughs.
  2. (zoology) A wattle or flap-like structure on the face.
    Some vultures have lappets of bare flesh on the sides of the head.
    Tompot blennies are distinguished by a pair of lappets above the eyes and dark stripes along the body.
  3. A head-dress made with lappets for lace pendants.
  4. (obsolete, anatomy) A lobe (division of an organ).

Derived terms[edit]



lappet (third-person singular simple present lappets, present participle lappeting, simple past and past participle lappeted)

  1. (transitive) To decorate with, or as if with, lappets.
    • 1824, Walter Savage Landor, “Oliver Cromwel and Walter Noble”, in Imaginary Conversations[7], volume 1, London: Taylor and Hessey, page 58:
      I would fain merit your esteem, heedless of these pursy fellows from hulks and warehouses, with one ear lappetted by the pen behind it []