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HARNESS (from O. Fr. harneis or harnois; the ultimate origin is obscure; the Celtic origin which connects it with the Welsh haiarn, iron, has phonetic and other difficulties; the French is the origin of the Span, arnes, and Ger. Harnisch), probably, in origin, gear, tackle, equipment in general, but early applied particularly to the body armour of a soldier, including the trappings of the horse; now the general term for the gear of an animal used for draft purposes, traces, collar, bridle, girth, breeching, etc. It is usually not applied to the saddle or bridle of a riding animal. The word, in its original meaning of tackle or working apparatus, is still found in weaving, for the mechanism which shifts the warp-threads to form the " shed," and in bell-hanging, for the apparatus by which a large bell is hung. The New English Dictionary quotes an early use of the word for the lines, rod and hooks of an angler (Fysshing with an Angle, c. 145)-

Note - this article incorporates content from Encyclopaedia Britannica, Eleventh Edition, (1910-1911)

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