Why We Call It a 'Cummerbund'

Cummerband seems like an odd word. Here's its origin.

Mignon Fogarty
1-minute read

This week I had occasion to look up the spelling of the word cummerbund and came across a tidbit you may find interesting as you fasten one around your waist if you’re getting a tuxedo for New Year’s Eve or a formal holiday party. 

First, I always thought it was cumBERband, but it’s cummerbund.

Second it comes from a Hindi word that has roots meaning a band that covers your loins: kamarbandkamar, which means “loins” and band, which means “band.” It’s a loin band!

Now you have embarrassing small talk to use if you can’t think of anything else to say at your holiday parties. You’re welcome.


Image courtesy of Shutterstock.

About the Author

Mignon Fogarty

Mignon Fogarty is the founder of Quick and Dirty Tips and the author of seven books on language, including the New York Times bestseller "Grammar Girl's Quick and Dirty Tips for Better Writing." She is an inductee in the Podcasting Hall of Fame, and the show is a five-time winner of Best Education Podcast in the Podcast Awards. She has appeared as a guest expert on the Oprah Winfrey Show and the Today Show.

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