Martha Stewart Living Radio: The Radio Blog

Word of the Day: tassel

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A tassel is a bunch of threads or thin cords knotted at one end; the threads remain loose at the other end. Focus on the end where they’re tied together. Because tassel in Old French was a clasp. But beyond that, it’s not clear where this word comes from. Some dictionaries say it’s from taxillus, Latin for a die, the tool used to make a tassel. Perhaps it's ultimately from talus, the Latin word for ankle that survives in English. No matter where it’s from, the tassel has become a trademark for cap-and-gown graduation ceremonies—and also an easy way to decorate your home.

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