TABARD, a short coat, either sleeveless, or with short sleeves or shoulder pieces, emblazoned on the front and back with the arms of the sovereign, and worn, as their distinctive garment, by heralds and pursuivants. A similar garment with short sleeves or without sleeves was worn in the middle ages by knights over their armour, and was also emblazoned with their arms or worn plain. The name was also given in earlier days to a much humbler similar garment -of rough frieze worn" by peasants; the ploughman wears a " tabard " in the Prologue to the Canterbury Tales. Similarly at Queen's College, Oxford, the scholars on the foundation were called " tabarders," from the tabard, obviously not an emblazoned garment, which they wore. The word itself appears in Fr. tabard or tabart, etc., Ital. tabarro, Ger. taphart, Med. Lat. iabbardus, tabardium, etc. It is of doubtful origin, but has usually been connected with " tippet," " tapestry," from Lat. tapete, hangings, painted cloths; Gr. T&.TTTIS, carpet.
Note - this article incorporates content from Encyclopaedia Britannica, Eleventh Edition, (1910-1911)