“Neck Doily” as Slang for “Jabot” In Black’s Law Dictionary

January 28th, 2014

Bryan Garner just made my day when he tweeted the draft definition for “jabot” in the next edition of Black’s Law Dictionary. It says “Also termed (slang) neck doily.”

I think I may have coined a word!

I first used the phrase “neck doily” in this post from October 2009 noting that Justice Sotomayor was not wearing the “neck doily” that Justice Ginsburg gave her. At some point earlier, I made a joke to a friend about Justice Ginsburg’s frilly jabot. I said something to the effect of, “Is she a Justice or a tea cup? Why is she wearing a doily around her neck.” And, it stuck. Above The Law adopted the usage back in 2010. I’m even cited as a footnote on Wikipedia for jabot!

Since then I’ve (somehow) published about two dozen posts on the neck doily. Justice Kagan wore a neck doily in her first Supreme Court portrait, and during her investiture, but not during her first day on the bench. Kagan later said of the jabot, “In my real life I’m not a frilly, lacy person.” Though all the female Justices wore some kind of neck accoutrements (somewhere between a scarf and a doily) while sitting for their portrait. Then there was the time Justice Ginsburg swapped her neck doily for some bling, and the blue neck doily for the same-sex wedding she officiated at.

If this is my only contribution to the English language, I will be happy.