[hang-ker-chif, -cheef] /ˈhæŋ kər tʃɪf, -ˌtʃif/

a small piece of linen, silk, or other fabric, usually square, and used especially for wiping one’s nose, eyes, face, etc., or for decorative purposes.
a neckerchief or .
/ˈhæŋkətʃɪf; -tʃiːf/
a small square of soft absorbent material, such as linen, silk, or soft paper, carried and used to wipe the nose, etc

1520s, from hand + kerchief “cloth for covering the head.” Thus it is a one-word contradiction in terms. By-form handkercher was in use 16c.-19c. A dropped handkerchief as a token of flirtation or courtship is attested by mid-18c.

Only once in Authorized Version (Acts 19:12). The Greek word (sudarion) so rendered means properly “a sweat-cloth.” It is rendered “napkin” in John 11:44; 20:7; Luke 19:20.


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