Word of the Week (157): SHABRACK (probability 38202), by David Sutton

A SHABRACK (or SHABRACQUE) is a trooper's saddlecloth; the word comes ultimately from the Turkish via German Schabracke.

Let's have a look at a few other exotic equine accoutrements. Spanish gives us MOCHILA, a large leather flap that covers the saddletree, APAREJO, a kind of pack saddle used in the American military service and among Spanish Americans, and TAPADERA (or TAPADERO), the leather guard in front of a Mexican stirrup.

Urdu gives us NUMNAH, a pad placed under a saddle to prevent chafing, and KAJAWAH, a camel saddle or pannier. And French gives us BRIDOON (or BRADOON), the light snaffle usual in a military bridle in addition to the ordinary bit, controlled by a separate rein, TERRET (or TERRIT or TORRET), either of the two rings or loops on a harness through which driving reins pass, and DEMIPIQUE, an 18th century war-saddle having a lower peak than usual

By the way, do not confuse SHABRACK with the similar sounding SHADRACH, which is a mass of iron on which the operation of smelting has failed of its intended effect; this takes its name from the implausibly salamandrine chap in the Bible, one of the three Hebrews who came forth unharmed from the fiery furnace of Nebuchadnezzar.


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