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Ornamental tassels (1)

Alternative forms[edit]


From Old French tassel, from Latin taxillus (small cube), from tālus (ankle).


  • IPA(key): /ˈtæsəl/
  • (file)
  • Rhymes: -æsəl


tassel (plural tassels)

  1. A ball-shaped bunch of plaited or otherwise entangled threads from which at one end protrudes a cord on which the ball is hung, and which may have loose, dangling threads at the other end (often used as decoration along the bottom of garments, curtains or other hangings).
  2. (botany) The panicle on a male plant of maize, which consists of loose threads with anthers on them.
  3. The loose hairs at the end of a braid.
  4. A narrow silk ribbon, or similar, sewed to a book to be put between the pages.
  5. (architecture) A piece of board that is laid upon a wall as a sort of plate, to give a level surface to the ends of floor timbers.
  6. A kind of bur used in dressing cloth; a teasel.
  7. A thin plate of gold on the back of a bishop's gloves.

Related terms[edit]



tassel (third-person singular simple present tassels, present participle tasselling or tasseling, simple past and past participle tasselled or tasseled)

  1. (transitive) To adorn with tassels.
    • 1819, John Keats, Otho the Great, Act V, Scene V, verses 37-39
      [] gauzes of silver mist;
      Loop’d up with cords of twisted wreathed light,
      And tassell’d round with weeping meteors!
  2. (intransitive, botany) To put forth a tassel or flower.
    Maize is a crop that tassels.

Further reading[edit]


Old French[edit]


From Late Latin taxellus, secondary form of taxillus, diminutive of Latin talus.


tassel m (oblique plural tasseaus or tasseax or tassiaus or tassiax or tassels, nominative singular tasseaus or tasseax or tassiaus or tassiax or tassels, nominative plural tassel)

  1. tassel (adornment for a garment)
    • circa 1150, Thomas d'Angleterre, Le Roman de Tristan, page 98 (of the Champion Classiques edition, →ISBN, line 909:
      si em fera urle e tassels
      he will add a border and tassels