Q From Faith Gildenhuys: What’s the history of best bib and tucker?
A A tucker was a bit of lace worn around the neck and top of the bodice by 17th-18th century women, presumably something that was tucked in; the bib was closely related to our modern term — a shirt-front or covering for the breast. The expression is first recorded from the middle of the eighteenth century, initially only for women and girls, as you might expect, but later on also to men, when the words had become a fixed phrase and disengaged from their real meanings. Before then, the common expression seems to have been best bib and band (band meaning collar), also commonly used for men as well as women, which continued after the new term had come into use, though it seems to have died out at the end of the eighteenth century. The word derives from the same source as the tucker of food, but is unconnected in meaning.
Search World Wide Words
Recently added or updated
By hook or by crook; Polish off; Loggerhead; Lame duck; But and ben; Logomaniac; Type louse; Corium; Lie Doggo; Fewmet; Dingbat; Kibosh; Caucus; Oryzivorous; Kick the bucket; Satisficer; Beside oneself; Words of the Year 2015; Peradventure; Sconce; Orchidelirium; How’s your father; Goon; Emoji; Thank your mother for the rabbits; Nonplussed; Bob’s-a-dying; Methinks; Bill of goods.
Support World Wide Words!
Donate via PayPal. Select your currency from the list and click Donate.
Buy from Amazon and get me a small commission at no cost to you. Select your preferred site and click Go!