AskDefine | Define brassard

Dictionary Definition

brassard n : armor plate that protects the arm

User Contributed Dictionary

English

Pronunciation

  • (bras'ärd)

Etymology

From French: bras + arm, and brassart

Noun

  1. An insignia or band worn around the upper arm
  2. armor plate that protects the arm

Extensive Definition

This article deals with military armbands. For non-military uses, see Armband.
A brassard is an armband or piece of cloth or other material worn around the upper arm, used as an item of military uniform to which rank badges (or other insignia) may be attached, instead of to the actual clothing. The brassard, when spread out, may be roughly rectangular in shape, where it is worn merely around the arm; it may also be a roughly triangular shape, in which case the brassard is also attached to a shoulder strap.
Brassards are also used with the uniforms of organizations which are not military but which are influenced by and styled upon the military, such as police, emergency services, volunteer services, or militaristic societies and political parties. A brassard is often used:
  • to temporarily attach insignia, such as rank, to clothing not normally bearing insignia (such as civilian clothing or a military mechanic's coveralls);
  • to temporarily attach insignia to a uniform for a limited time, such as the insignia for an "officer of the day" or "duty officer"; or for uniforms expected to have a high turnover of either wearer or insignia borne, such as those of cadets or other youth organizations. Brassards worn by military police and Red Cross personnel fall under this category; or
  • as a permanent uniform item, such as the swastika armband of the Nazi Party.

Homonyms

  • The word brassard (also brassart or brasset) is also used to refer to pieces of armour worn to cover the entire arm (encompassing vambrace, rerebrace, and possibly a couter).
brassard in German: Armbinde
brassard in Russian: Нарукавная повязка
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