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From Middle English ouche, from nouche, which in phrases like a nouche was re-analyzed as an ouche. From Anglo-Norman nusche and Old French nusche (with metanalysis), from a Germanic source; compare German Nusche.



ouche (plural ouches)

  1. (poetic) A brooch or clasp for fastening a piece of clothing together, especially when valuable or set with jewels.
    • 1485, Sir Thomas Malory, Le Morte Darthur, Book XX:
      and the horse [was] trapped in the same wyse, down to the helys, wyth many owchys, i-sette with stonys and perelys in golde, to the numbir of a thousande.
    • 1590, Edmund Spenser, The Faerie Queene, I.ii:
      a Persian mitre on her hed / She wore, with crownes and owches garnished [...].
    • With the work of an engraver in stone, like the engravings of a signet, shalt thou engrave the two stones with the names of the children of Israel: thou shalt make them to be set in ouches of gold.
    • 1896, Rudyard Kipling, ‘The Story of Ung’, Seven Seas:
      There would be no pelts of the reindeer, flung down at thy cave for a gift, / Nor dole of the oily timber that strands with the Baltic drift; / No store of well-drilled needles, nor ouches of amber pale; / No new-cut tongues of the bison, nor meat of the stranded whale.