Thursday, October 24, 2013

Wise man say

Summer or winter, thick or thin, 
for a man or a woman, in 
English they are all scarves. 
A muffler only goes on your car.


  1. I've been interested in a topic about scarf and muffler. So, I checked a definition of muffler. It says muffler has two meanings. One is a silencer as a device and the other is a neckwear. Considering a meaning of a verb “muffle”, I can understand why it has two meanings. And I know people speak English don’t call a cloth worn around the neck MUFFLER nowadays. Anyway, I have two questions about scarf. Do you know about origin of a word “scarf”? Did the people of the past use to use both words at the same meaning?

  2. Awesome question Masa. I love your questions!
    So... the origins of the word scarf have been lost to time. But there are some good theories,

    "band of silk, strip of cloth," 1550s, "a band worn across the body or over the shoulders," probably from Old North French escarpe "sash, sling," which probably is identical with Old French escherpe "pilgrim's purse suspended from the neck," perhaps from Frankish *skirpja or some other Germanic source (cf. Old Norse skreppa "small bag, wallet, satchel"), or from Medieval Latin scirpa "little bag woven of rushes," from Latin scirpus "rush, bulrush," of unknown origin [Klein]. As a cold-weather covering for the neck, first recorded 1844. Plural scarfs began to yield to scarves early 18c., on model of half/halves, etc.

    The word muffler is also mysterious, while you might find some parts of the world where English speakers call a winter scarf a muffler, I have never encountered any. Apparently it was more common in the 1530's. The verb "muffle" means to reduce the sound that something makes. This was traditionally done by wrapping cloth around whatever you wanted to make quiet. This wrapping is probably how the notion of a scarf being a muffler got picked up. Also we have a piece of winter clothing with a similar name, in the picture below the lady is wearing a "muff" on her hands, so I guess there is some connection there. However this fashion style is no longer common and the word "muff" these days more is more commonly used to refer to the unshaven private parts of a lady...