Thingamajig Thursday: liripipes

David K. Israel

It's Thursday, folks, and you know what that means! Today I'm naming those long, funny-looking thingamajigs that run down or off the back of a medieval or academic hood, which are called "liripipes." These days, some old-school Universities even call a mortarboard tassel or ceremonial sash by the name liripipe.Though its origin isn't 100% clear, the word seems to have descended from the medieval Latin, liripipium, or "the tip of a hood" (or even the tip of a shoe).

According to this interesting website on the history of hats, the liripipe "began to lengthen into a pendant tail or padded sausage from the fourteenth century on. By the following century it had grown to five or six feet in length, when it could be held in the hand, hang loose down the back, be draped round the body or wound round the chaperon."

And if you're thinking that sounds kinda dirty, that's just 'cause you forgot that a "chaperon" can also be a round headdress popular in the 15th century.