Glossary – peignoir and lingerie

carole-landis-negligee-and-peignoirThe words lingerie and peignoir appear in the English language in about 1835. Lingerie comes from the French term meaning ‘things made from linen’, and derives from the old French word linge which means ‘washables’ and ultimately, the word lin, or linen, the fabric from which most undergarments were made until the 19th century.

Peignoir describes a particular garment from the lingerie family – a full or loose dressing gown that we today associate with being sheer and sold with a matching nightgown. However, the peignoir was originally worn while combing and dressing the hair and comes from the Middle French word peigner ‘to comb’, a derivative of the Latin pectinare ‘a comb’.

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