Ep"au*let`, Ep"au*lette` (?), n. [F. 'epaulette, dim. of 'epaule shoulder, fr. L. spatula a broad piece (LL., shoulder), dim. of spatha a broad, flat instrument, fr. Gr. , also, a broad rib, shoulder blade. See Spade the instrument, and cf. Epaule, Spatula.] Mil.
A shoulder ornament or badge worn by military and naval officers, differences of rank being marked by some peculiar form or device, as a star, eagle, etc.; a shoulder knot.
In the United States service the epaulet is reserved for full dress uniform. Its use was abolished in the British army in 1855.
© Webster 1913.