halter (n.)

Old English hælfter "rope for leading a horse," from Proto-Germanic *halftra- "that by which something is held" (source also of Old Saxon haliftra "halter," Old High German halftra, Middle Dutch halfter), from suffixed form of PIE *kelp- "to hold, grasp" (see helve). Also "hangman's noose" (mid-15c.). In women's clothing sense, originally "strap attached to the top of a backless bodice and looped around the neck," 1935, later extended to the tops themselves.

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