New Jack

I posted a while ago about helms. And in particular how helms were replaced by the more diminutive helmets, and that now they are back to square one, they really ought to be called helms again.

It occurs to me that exactly the same might be said about jacks. There are well over a dozen meanings of the  word jack, including that of an upper body garment, usually of leather, that was often further enhanced by metal or other elements, to provide protection. It is in this sense that the word is used in The Raid of the Reidswire:

We saw come marching over the knowes,

Five hundred Fenwicks in a flock.

With jack and speir, and bowes all bent,

And warlike weapons at their will.

These days, those of us who ride motorbikes have pretty much the same thing to wear on our top halves: the leather is reinforced with various materials – particularly around the elbows, shoulders and back, for added protection.  So maybe we should be calling these things, not motorbike jackets, but motorbike jacks?

















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Filed under Culture, Sport

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