Ker"chief (?), n.; pl. Kerchiefs (#). [OE. coverchef, OF. cuevrechief, couvrechef, F. couvrechef, a head covering, fr. couvrir to cover + OF. chief head, F. chef. See Cover, Chief, and cf. Curfew.]
A square of fine linen worn by women as a covering for the head; hence, anything similar in form or material, worn for ornament on other parts of the person; -- mostly used in compounds; as, neckerchief; breastkerchief; and later, handkerchief.
He might put on a hat, a muffler, and a kerchief, and so escape.
Her black hair strained away
To a scarlet kerchief caught beneath her chin.
A lady who wears a kerchief.
© Webster 1913.