a. A piece of armor for protecting the breast and back, often consisting of two pieces fastened together.
b. The front piece of this armor.
2. Zoology A protective covering of bony plates or scales.
[Middle English curas, from Old French curasse, probably alteration (influenced by Old French cuir, leather) of Old Provençal coirassa, from Late Latin coriācea (vestis), leather (garment), feminine of coriāceus, from Latin corium, hide; see sker-1 in the Appendix of Indo-European roots.]
The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2018 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
Indo-European & Semitic Roots Appendices
Thousands of entries in the dictionary include etymologies that trace their origins back to reconstructed proto-languages. You can obtain more information about these forms in our online appendices:
The Indo-European appendix covers nearly half of the Indo-European roots that have left their mark on English words. A more complete treatment of Indo-European roots and the English words derived from them is available in our Dictionary of Indo-European Roots.