harness

Definitions

General English

  • noun straps used to hold a horse to a cart
  • noun straps used to attach something to a person

General Science

Cars & Driving

  • noun a belt system used with child seats and in cars, consisting of two shoulder belts and two lap belt portions fastened by a central buckle

Electronics

  • A bundle of wires or cables which is tied or otherwise attached together so as to be handled, installed, or removed as a unit.

Military

  • noun straps which fasten a piece of equipment to a person’s body

Origin & History of “harness”

Etymologically, harness is ‘equipment for an army’. It comes via Old French herneis ‘military equipment’ from an unrecorded Old Norse *hernest, a compound formed from herr ‘army’ (a descendant of prehistoric Germanic *kharjaz ‘crowd’ and related to English harangue, harbinger, harbour, and harry) and nest ‘provisions’. English took it over in the general sense ‘equipment’, and did not apply it specifically to the straps, buckles, etc of a horse until the 14th century (it was originally used for any equestrian equipment, including reins, saddles, etc, but now it denotes exclusively the gear of a draught horse).
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