Saturday, September 12, 2015

Word of the day: antimacassar

The word of the day is antimacassar:

  1. a small covering, usually ornamental, placed on the backs and arms of upholstered furniture to prevent wear or soiling; a tidy.
coined 1852, from anti- + macassar oil, imported hair tonic from Indonesian island of Sulawesi. The cloth was laid to protect chair and sofa fabric from people leaning their oily heads back against it. Macassar is from native Mangkasara, name of a district on the island. (

"But it is interesting that, apparently in an attempt to comprehend my present aberration, Rodman should have taken the trouble to read some of Grandmother's stories and look at some magazines containing her drawings.  Characteristically he saw nothing in them.  All full of pious renunciations, he says, everything covered up with Victorian antimacassars.  He cited me her own remark that she wrote from the protected point of view, the woman's point of view, as evidence that she went through her own life from inexperience to inexperience."

 - Wallace Stegner, Angle of Repose

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