• WordNet 3.6
    • n kerchief a square scarf that is folded into a triangle and worn over the head or about the neck
    • ***
Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary
    • Kerchief A lady who wears a kerchief.
    • Kerchief A square of fine linen worn by women as a covering for the head; hence, anything similar in form or material, worn for ornament on other parts of the person; -- mostly used in compounds; as, neckerchief; breastkerchief; and later, handkerchief. "He might put on a hat, a muffler, and a kerchief , and so escape.""Her black hair strained away
      To a scarlet kerchief caught beneath her chin."
    • ***
Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia
    • n kerchief A head-dress composed of a simple square or oblong piece of linen, silk, or other material, worn folded, tied, pinned, or otherwise fastened about the head, or more or less loosely attached, so as to cover or drape the head and shoulders. Some traces of its early form and use still survive in the costumes of different parts of Europe, especially among the country people.
    • n kerchief A similar square of linen, cotton, or silk, worn on or used about the person for other purposes than covering the head. Compare handkerchief, neckerchief, and napkin.
    • n kerchief One who wears a kerchief; a woman.
    • kerchief To attire with a kerchief; hood.
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Chambers's Twentieth Century Dictionary
    • n Kerchief kėr′chif any loose cloth used in dress:
    • v.t Kerchief to cover or dress with a kerchief
    • n Kerchief kėr′chif (orig.) a square piece of cloth worn by women to cover the head
    • ***


Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary
OE. coverchef, OF. cuevrechief, couvrechef, F. couvrechef, a head covering, fr. couvrir, to cover + OF. chief, head, F. chef,. See Cover Chief, and cf. Curfew
Chambers's Twentieth Century Dictionary
M. E. couerchef—O. Fr. covrechef (Fr. couvrechef)—covrir, to cover, chef, the head.


In literature:

In his left hand he carried a small bundle, wrapped in a knotted blue kerchief: his right he waved submissively towards Captain Pond.
"Wandering Heath" by Sir Arthur Thomas Quiller-Couch
She in a shawl and a kerchief over her head and he in a cape and a slouch hat.
"Woman Triumphant" by Vicente Blasco Ibañez
Dark-eyed women, with orange or crimson kerchiefs for headgear, cross and re-cross, bearing baskets on their shoulders.
"Sketches and Studies in Italy and Greece, Vol III." by John Symonds
Dark-eyed women, with orange or crimson kerchiefs for headgear, cross and re-cross, bearing baskets on their shoulders.
"Sketches and Studies in Italy and Greece, Complete" by John Symonds
In Egypt a shoulder cape, with kerchief effect in front, broadened behind to a square, and reached to the waist line.
"Woman as Decoration" by Emily Burbank
This kerchief was his ensign of sleep.
"Christmas" by Various
Then she looked more closely, and he knew that she had noticed the kerchief.
"Dick the Bank Boy" by Frank V. Webster
The snowy kerchief folded across her bosom and the big mob cap on her head are precisely like those in the portraits of the colonial lady.
"Sir Joshua Reynolds" by Estelle M. Hurll
The "kerchief" was originally a covering for the head.
"Stories That Words Tell Us" by Elizabeth O'Neill
She started up before him, her face very much increased in color, and she folded her arms above her kerchief.
"Lippincott's Magazine of Popular Literature and Science, Volume 22. October, 1878." by Various

In poetry:

Cyprian, in my dream
the folds of a purple
kerchief shadowed
your cheeks —- the one
"Cyprian, in my dream" by Sappho
The tumult of the waterfalls,
Pohono's kerchief in the breeze,
The waving from the rocky walls,
The stir and rustle of the trees;
"California's Greeting To Seward" by Francis Bret Harte
I can see a ship come sailing in
Beyond the headlands and harbor of Lynn,
And a young man standing on the deck,
With a silken kerchief round his neck.
"Ultima Thule: Maiden And The Weathercock" by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
"Where I was almost weeping; I dared not
Weep quite in those days, lest one maid should say,
In tittering whispers: 'Where is Launcelot
To wipe with some kerchief those tears away?'
"King Arthur's Tomb" by William Morris
To the cockpit in silence they carried him past,
And sad were the looks that were after him cast;
His face with a kerchief he tried to conceal,
But we knew him too well from the truck to the keel.
"The Quarter-Gunner's Yarn" by Sir Henry Newbolt
Who deign not to clipper their own dainty feet,
Whose wants swarthy handmaids stand ready to meet,
Whose fingers decline the light kerchief to hem,--
What aid in this struggle is hoped for from them?
"Beechenbrook - II" by Margaret Junkin Preston

In news:

Jet black above and snowy white below, with a kerchief of rose-red across its breast , the male looks like no other bird.
Rose-breasted Grosbeak, kerchiefed songster .
In the market for a handbag or kerchief.
The stereotype of 4-H and FFA conjures images of kids in kerchiefs showing livestock at the county fair.