A handkerchief is a square of fabric that you can use to blow your nose. You can also tuck a handkerchief in the breast pocket of a suit, or wear it tied jauntily around your neck.

You can call a handkerchief a "hanky," or just a kerchief, although this more often means "a square piece of cloth worn as a head covering." This last part of handkerchief comes from the Old French couvrechief, literally meaning "cover head," from couvrir, "cover," and chief, "head." So a handkerchief is a similar cloth held in the hand — to mop your brow or wipe your eyes.

Definitions of handkerchief
  1. noun
    a square piece of cloth used for wiping the eyes or nose or as a costume accessory
    synonyms: hankey, hankie, hanky
    see moresee less
    bandana, bandanna
    large and brightly colored handkerchief; often used as a neckerchief
    a handkerchief that is carried in a pocket
    type of:
    piece of cloth, piece of material
    a separate part consisting of fabric
Word Family

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