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Longman Dictionary of Contemporary English
▪ Blood from his torn ear was soaking his left epaulette with its tarnished chains and gilded eagle.
▪ Specials share almost all the usual police responsibilities and just a small insignia on the epaulette distinguishes them from their regular colleagues.
▪ The first one came out of a mouth just under the right epaulette.
▪ The Marshal stared expressionlessly at the blushing face and then at the star on the young man's epaulette.
The Collaborative International Dictionary

Epaulet \Ep"au*let`\, Epaulette \Ep"au*lette`\, n. [F. ['e]paulette, dim. of ['e]paule shoulder, fr. L. spatula a broad piece (LL., shoulder), dim. of spatha abroad, flat instrument, fr. Gr. ?, also, a broad rib, shoulder blade. See Spade the instrument, and cf. Epaule, Spatula.] (Mil.) A shoulder ornament or badge worn by military and naval officers, differences of rank being marked by some peculiar form or device, as a star, eagle, etc.; a shoulder knot.

Note: In the United States service the epaulet is reserved for full dress uniform. Its use was abolished in the British army in 1855.


n. 1 An ornamentation, worn on the shoulders of a military uniform, as a sign of rank 2 A similar piece of trimming on a lady’s dress 3 A plate on the anterior wings of some hymenopteral insects 4 The red patch on the shoulders of a red-winged blackbird


n. adornment consisting of an ornamental cloth pad worn on the shoulder [syn: epaulet]


Epaulette (; also spelled epaulet) is a type of ornamental shoulder piece or decoration used as insignia of rank by armed forces and other organizations. In several European armies, epaulettes are also worn by all ranks of elite or ceremonial units when on parade.

Epaulettes are fastened to the shoulder by a shoulder strap or "passant", a small strap parallel to the shoulder seam, and the button near the collar, or by laces on the underside of the epaulette passing through holes in the shoulder of the coat. Colloquially, any shoulder straps with marks are also called epaulettes. The placement of the epaulette, its color and the length and diameter of its bullion fringe are used to signify the wearer's rank. At the join of the fringe and the shoulderpiece is often a metal piece in the form of a crescent. Although originally worn in the field, epaulettes are now normally limited to dress or ceremonial military uniforms.

Usage examples of "epaulette".

A group of officers had appeared there, their aiguillettes and epaulettes a dark gold in the wintry light, and in their midst were the chasseur in his red pelisse, and the civilian in his black coat and white boots.

His sumptuous safari jacket is festooned with gussets, map pockets, zippered pouches, epaulettes, and a broad belt drawn with flair about his pot belly.

He wore a plain dark blue uniform with no badges of rank, but Pierie Ducos needed no gaudy chains or stars, no tassels or epaulettes or aiguillettes to signify his authority.

The flounces of mangroves, the sparse, grassy epaulettes on the shoulders of the hills the fragrant forest, the dim jungle, the piled up rocks, the caves where the rare swiftlet hatches out her young in gloom and silence in nests of gluten and moss--all are mine to gloat over.

The Customs shed was corrugated iron, manned by three bored workers in grimy white canvass jackets, supervised by a clerk who wore a blue guayabera shirt with CoDominium badges sewed to the epaulettes.

Before he had time to pick himself up, the populace had fallen on him: in one instant they had torn away his epaulettes, his banner, and his coat, and would have torn him to bits himself, had not Giorgio Pellegrino and Trenta Capelli taken him under their protection, and giving him an arm on each side, defended him in their turn against the people.

They wore brown and red armor with black epaulettes, and carried swords, maces and blast-cannon slung over their backs.

Either that or the heaviness of those epaulettes had weighed her down.

These narrow bands of tattooing, thus placed, always reminded me of those stripes of gold lace worn by officers in undress, and which are in lieu of epaulettes to denote their rank.

His epaulettes glinted, his belt buckle sparkled, his buttons shone, his shoulder braid strutted grandly and his medal ribbons competed for attention upon his splendid chest.

Major Tweedy, moustached like Turko the terrible, in bearskin cap with hackleplume and accoutrements, with epaulettes, gilt chevrons and sabretaches, his breast bright with medals, toes the line.

SPIRIT OF RUMOUR That hatless, smoke-smirched shape There in the vale, is still the living Ney, His sabre broken in his hand, his clothes Slitten with ploughing ball and bayonet, One epaulette shorn away.

Yankee officers seemed more reluctant than Southerners to abandon their swords and glinting rank badges and bright epaulettes.

All the more did he admire the officer, who in spite of his tight-fitting full-dress uniform coat, amply befrogged and weighed down by epaulettes, was pursuing his subject with such enthusiasm and, besides talking, was still tightening a screw here and there with a spanner.

Magpie Maggie Hag, after making the acrobats' short-legged fleshings for the three Chinese, resewed the rip panel in the Saratoga, then turned out extra costumes for the other performers—much better made and more bedizened with spangles than their old ones—Including, for Colonel Ramrod and Barnacle Bill, new ring uniforms positively stiff with gold-braid frogs and brandenburgs and epaulettes.