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The lanyard dates back to 1626, when it was first used as a nautical term for a piece of rope or line used to secure something on a boat, or ship. During the late 19th century the term was also given to describe a piece of cord, used to secure a knife or whistle in battle. The lanyard was worn on the left shoulder so that the knife could be tucked into the left breast pocket. Because of the difficulty of having to remove the knife from the pocket beneath the bandolier, the lanyard was moved to the right shoulder in 1920. In 1933, the lanyard became a straight cord, for ornamental purposes only.

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