1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Harness

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HARNESS (from O. Fr. harneis or harnois; the ultimate origin is obscure; the Celtic origin which connects it with the Welsh haiarn, iron, has phonetic and other difficulties; the French is the origin of the Span, arnes, and Ger. Harnisch), probably, in origin, gear, tackle, equipment in general, but early applied particularly to the body armour of a soldier, including the trappings of the horse; now the general term for the gear of an animal used for draft purposes, traces, collar, bridle, girth, breeching, &c. It is usually not applied to the saddle or bridle of a riding animal. The word, in its original meaning of tackle or working apparatus, is still found in weaving, for the mechanism which shifts the warp-threads to form the “shed,” and in bell-hanging, for the apparatus by which a large bell is hung. The New English Dictionary quotes an early use of the word for the lines, rod and hooks of an angler (Fysshing with an Angle, c. 1450).