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SCARF, a narrow wrap for the neck or shoulders; the term is a wide one, ranging from a light band of silk, muslin or other material worn by women as a decorative part of their costume to a warm knitted muffler of wool to protect the throat from cold. The O. Eng. scearfe meant a piece or fragment of any- thing, and is to be referred ultimately to the root skar-, to cut, seen in Dutch scherf, shred, Ger. Scherbe, potsherd, " scrap," a piece or fragment; " scrip," a piece of leather, hence a pouch or wallet. The particular meanings in English are to be referred to Fr. escharpe, pilgrim's wallet, also scarf. The ecclesiastical " scarf " was originally a loose wrap or muffler (band) to be worn round the neck out of doors. In the English Church, in post-Reformation times, the minister wore over the surplice the " scarf," which was a broad band of black silk with fringed ends arranged like the stole round the neck, but falling nearly to the feet. Its use has been almost entirely replaced by that of the stole (?..), with which it has sometimes been wrongly confused.

Ultimately from the same root, but directly adapted from the Scandinavian, cf. Swed. skar}, joint, is the use of the word " scarf," in carpentry and joinery, for a joint by which two timbers are fastened together longitudinally so as to form a continuous piece (see JOINERY).

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

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