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A lanyard is a rope or cord, typically worn around the neck, shoulder, or wrist to carry an object. Usually it is used where there is a risk of losing the object or to ensure that it is visible at all times.
The earliest references to lanyards dates from 15th century France, during which the word "Lanière" was used to describe a thong or strap apparatus. Later, in the French military, lanyards were used to connect a pistol, sword or whistle (for signalling) to a uniform semi-permanently. Lanyards were used in situations where there was a good chance of losing the object—commonly by cavalry and naval officers at sea. A well-made pistol lanyard can be easily removed and reattached by the user, but otherwise will stay connected to the pistol whether it is drawn or in a holster. Lanyards later became a more decorative item. A popular reference to holster lanyards is found in the 1966 Spaghetti Western The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly, in which one of the film's main characters, Tuco Ramirez, is known to carrying his pistol on a rope cord lanyard. Eli Wallach, the actor who played the part of Tuco, reportedly told director Sergio Leone that it was too difficult to put a pistol into a holster without looking, so Leone put Wallach's pistol on a lanyard. Lanyards of various colour combinations and braid patterns are also commonly worn on the shoulders of military uniforms to denote the wearer's qualification or regimental affiliation. Many regiments were originally mounted and wore the lanyard on the left, enabling the rider to pull a whistle from his left tunic pocket and maintain communication with his troop. Members of the British Royal Artillery wear a lanyard which originally held a key for adjusting the fuzes of explosive shells. The style, design or material used will vary widely depending on end-purpose of the lanyard. Common lanyard materials include polyester, nylon, satin, silk, polyethylene terephthalate (PET), braided leather or braided paracord. Lanyards are widely used with small electronic devices such as cameras, MP3 players and USB flash drives to prevent loss or dropping. Electronics designed to take a lanyard usually have a small through-hole built into a corner or edge of the case or anchored to the frame of the device; the corresponding lanyard generally has a loop of thread on the end that is attached to that hole with a simple knot, usually a cow hitch. Some earphones incorporate the audio signal into the lanyard, meaning it doubles up as headphone cords as well. The Wii Remote wrist strap is a form of lanyard, keeping the device attached to a player's arm during the often vigorous movements involved in its use.
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