chain mail


chain mail
mail2 (def. 1).
[1815-25]

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or mail

Form of body armour worn by European knights and other medieval warriors.

An early form, made by sewing iron rings to fabric or leather, was worn in late Roman times and may have originated in Asia. Medieval armourers interlaced the rings, which were closed by welding or riveting. In the 8th century, mail was a short coat with a separate sleeve for the sword arm. By the Norman Conquest (1066), the coat was long and fully sleeved; a hood, usually fitting under a helmet, covered the head and neck. By the 12th century, mail was fitted to hands, feet, and legs. The addition of plates to increase chest and back protection gradually evolved in the 14th century into complete plate armour, displacing mail.

Turkish coat of chain mail, 16th century

Courtesy of The John Woodman Higgins Armoury Museum

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armour
also called  Mail,  
 form of body armour worn by European knights and other military men throughout most of the medieval period. An early form of mail, made by sewing iron rings to fabric or leather, was worn in late Roman times and may have originated in Asia, where such mail continued to be worn for many centuries.

      Medieval armourers improved on the early version by fabricating mail independent of cloth or leather and by interlacing the rings, which were firmly closed by welding or riveting. In earlier versions, such as that worn by Charlemagne in a representation of 773, the shirt, or coat, was short, with a separate sleeve for the sword arm. In later models, such as those depicted in the Bayeux Tapestry (1066), the coat was long, fully sleeved, and divided to facilitate horseback riding. A hood, usually fitting under a helmet, covered the head and neck. A padded undergarment was worn to protect against bruises. By the 12th century, mail was fitted to feet and legs, and to hands in the form of mittens or gauntlets. The addition of plates to increase protection for breast and back gradually evolved in the 14th century into complete plate armour, displacing mail. See also armour.

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Universalium. 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Chain mail — Chain Chain (ch[=a]n), n. [F. cha[^i]ne, fr. L. catena. Cf. {Catenate}.] 1. A series of links or rings, usually of metal, connected, or fitted into one another, used for various purposes, as of support, of restraint, of ornament, of the exertion… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • Chain mail — Mail Mail (m[=a]l), n. [OE. maile, maille, F. maille a ring of mail, mesh, network, a coat of mail, fr. L. macula spot, a mesh of a net. Cf. {Macle}, {Macula}, {Mascle}.] 1. A flexible fabric made of metal rings interlinked. It was used… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • chain mail — chain′ mail′ n. her mail II, 1) • Etymology: 1815–25 …   From formal English to slang

  • chain mail — n [U] protective clothing made by joining many small metal rings together, worn by soldiers in the past …   Dictionary of contemporary English

  • chain mail — chain ,mail noun uncount clothing made from metal rings that soldiers in the past wore for protection …   Usage of the words and phrases in modern English

  • chain mail — ► NOUN historical ▪ armour made of small metal rings linked together …   English terms dictionary

  • chain mail — n. flexible armor made of joined metal links …   English World dictionary

  • chain mail — noun (Middle Ages) flexible armor made of interlinked metal rings • Syn: ↑ring mail, ↑mail, ↑chain armor, ↑chain armour, ↑ring armor, ↑ring armour • Topics: ↑ …   Useful english dictionary

  • Chain Mail — For other uses, see chainmail (disambiguation). Chain Mail / Sit Down Single by James Released March 1986 …   Wikipedia

  • chain mail — noun a) A flexible defensive armor, made of a mesh of interlinked metal rings. Chain mail is formed by a number of iron rings, each ring having four others inserted into it, the whole exhibiting a kind of net work, with circular meshes, every… …   Wiktionary


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