noun (plural etuis)dated
- Each component had its place in an attractive container, be it a pocket-sized silver case, a leather-covered etui, a wooden box, or a mahogany chest.
Early 17th century: from French étui, from Old French estui 'prison', from estuier 'shut up, keep'. Compare with tweezers.
tweezers from mid 17th century:
In the 17th century a tweeze was a case of surgical instruments. It appears to be a shortened form of etweese, a plural of etui (early 17th century), which was a term for a small ornamental case for holding needles, cosmetics, and other articles, that came from French. In the mid 17th century tweeze was extended to tweezer, while the plural tweezes became tweezers. Trouse became trousers in much the same way. In the 1930s tweeze was re-formed from tweezers to mean ‘to pluck with tweezers’.
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