Online Encyclopedia

MILLINER

Online Encyclopedia
Originally appearing in Volume V18, Page 468 of the 1911 Encyclopedia Britannica.
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MILLINER, originally a dealer in goods from the city of Milan in Italy, whence the name. Such goods were chiefly steel work, including cutlery, needles, also arms and armour and textile fabrics, ribbons, gloves and " Milan bonnets." The " milliners " of London, though never formed into a Livery Company seem to have been associated with the " Cappers and Hurers," which later were amalgamated with the " Haber-dashers " (q.v.). Minsheu's derivation of the word from milk, thousand (" as having a thousand small wares to sell "), though a typical instance of guessing etymologies, shows the miscellaneous character of their trade in, the 16th and 17th centuries. The modern use of the word is confined chiefly to one who makes and sells bonnets and hats for women; but articles of "millinery" include ribbons, laces, &c., usually retailed by haberdashers.
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