In Chapter IX of Thomas Deloney's novel Jack of Newbury, I found the following sentence (emphasis and links added):

Thus lay the poore Draper a long time in prison, in which space, his Wife which before for daintinesse would not foule her fingers, nor turne her head aside, for feare of hurting the set of her neckenger, was glad to goe about and wash buckes at the Thames side, and to be a chare-woman in rich mens houses, her soft hand was now hardened with scouring, and in steade of gold rings upon her lilly fingers, they were now fild witch chaps, provoked by the sharpe, lee, and other drudgeries.

In Quips upon Questions, a book originally published in 1600 and at one point attributed to the actor John Singer but currently to Robert Armin, I found another example:

A gallant Neckenger her necke to grace,
No matter for her Gowne, or other place :
Good foote, good legge : theſe two are chiefly fine,
And ſhe that giues her wages muſt decline.

So a neckenger appears to be something that can be worn around the neck, as the name suggests. But what exactly is it? A choker, perhaps?

1 Answer 1


This Broadview Press edition of Jack of Newbury gives the meaning as ‘neckerchief’.

While this is all the information the glossary of that publication provides, the OED gives the following information under 'Neckinger':

Origin: A variant or alteration of another lexical item.

Etymon: neckercher n. Etymology: Variant of neckercher n. Perhaps compare nouns in -enger , -inger , such as messenger n., harbinger n... Perhaps compare also muckinger , muckenger , variants of muckender n.

Chiefly English regional (eastern and northern).

A neckerchief

The entry goes on to cite the passage from the question as an example of the usage.


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