Loom

means a utensil. (Anglo-Saxon, loma). Thus “heir-loom” means a personal chattel or household implement which goes by special custom to the heir. The word was in familiar use in Prior's time (1664-1721), for he says “a thousand maidens ply the purple loom.”

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