Feme-covert

A married woman. This does not mean a woman coverte by her husband, but a woman whose head is covered, not usual with maidens or unmarried women. In Rome unmarried women wore on their heads only a corolla (i.e. a wreath of flowers). In Greece they wore an anadema, or fillet. The Hungarian spinster is called hajadon (bare-headed). Married women, as a general rule, have always covered their head with a cap, turban, or something of the same sort, the head being covered as a badge of subjection. Hence Rebekah (Gen. xxiv. 65), being told that the man she saw was her espoused husband, took a veil and covered her head. Servants wear caps, and private soldiers in the presence of their officers cover their heads for the same reason. (See Eph. v. 22, 23.)

Women do not, like men, uncover their heads even in saluting, but bend their knee, in token of subjection. (See Salutations.)

Source: Dictionary of Phrase and Fable, E. Cobham Brewer, 1894
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