Cuff with cufflink.

A cufflink (also cuff link or cuff-link) is a decorative fastener worn by men or women to fasten the two sides of the cuff on a dress shirt or blouse.

The forerunner of today’s shirt first appeared in the early-16th century, its ruffled wristband finished with small openings on either side that tied together with "cuff strings." Although cuff strings would remain popular well into the nineteenth century, it was during the reign of Louis XIV that shirt sleeves started to be fastened with boutons de manchette, or "sleeve buttons," typically identical pairs of coloured glass buttons joined together by a short, linked chain.

By 1715, simple, paste-glass buttons had given way to pairs of two, decoratively painted or jeweled studs, typically diamonds, connected by ornate gold links.

Hence was born the cuff "link", whether simple glass buttons or gilded and bejeweled studs.

Cufflinks are designed only for use with shirts which have buttonholes on both sides but no buttons. These may be either single or double-length ("French") cuffs, and may be worn either "kissing," with the ends pinched together, or "barrel-style," with one end overlapping the other. Kissing cuffs are usually preferred.

Cufflink designs vary widely. The simplest design consists of a short post or chain connecting two disc-shaped parts. The part positioned on the most visible side is usually larger; a variety of designs can connect the smaller piece: It may be small enough to fit through the button hole like a button would; it may be separated and attached from the other side; or it may have a portion that swivels on the central post, aligning with the post while the link is threaded through the button-hole and swiveling into a position at right angles to the post when worn.

"Dumbbell" or shank-style cufflinks were popular during the early-20th century, particularly in America.

The visible part of a cufflink is often monogrammed or decorated in some way. There are numerous styles including novelty cufflinks, traditional cufflinks, contemporary cufflinks, utility cufflinks, and humorous cufflinks.

Silk knot

This French cuff is fastened with gold-coloured silk knots.

An alternative fastener to a cufflink is the cheaper silk knot, which are also known as monkey's fists or turk's head. The Paris shirtmaker Charvet is credited with their introduction in 1904.[1] They became quickly popular: "Charvet [link] buttons of twisted braid are quite the style" noted the New York Times in 1908.[2] French cuff shirts are often accompanied with a set of colour-coordinated silk knots instead of double-button cufflinks. They are now rarely made from silk; often they are made from elastic. Owing to the popularity of this fashion, metal cufflinks shaped to look like a silk knot are also worn.


  1. ^ Corbett, Patrick (2002). Verdura: the life and work of a master jeweler. Harry N. Abrams. p. 120. ISBN 9780810935297. 
  2. ^ "What new Autumn Blouses are like" (PDF). New York Times. September 20, 1908. Retrieved 2008-10-21. 

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Look at other dictionaries:

  • cufflink — ► NOUN ▪ a device for fastening together the sides of a shirt cuff …   English terms dictionary

  • cufflink — UK [ˈkʌflɪŋk] / US noun [countable, usually plural] Word forms cufflink : singular cufflink plural cufflinks an object used instead of a button for fastening the cuff of a man s shirt …   English dictionary

  • cufflink — cuff link or cuff·link (kŭfʹlĭngk ) © School Division, Houghton Mifflin Company n. A fastening for a shirt cuff, usually consisting of two buttons or buttonlike parts connected with a chain or shank that passes through two slits in the cuff. * *… …   Universalium

  • cufflink — noun A button or stud used to hold a sleeve cuff together. Every gentleman needs at least one pair of cufflinks …   Wiktionary

  • cufflink — cuff|link [ kʌflıŋk ] noun count usually plural an object used instead of a button for fastening the cuff of a man s shirt …   Usage of the words and phrases in modern English

  • cufflink — [[t]kʌ̱flɪŋk[/t]] cufflinks N COUNT: usu pl Cufflinks are small decorative objects used for holding together shirt cuffs around the wrist. ...a pair of gold cufflinks …   English dictionary

  • cufflink — noun a device for fastening together the sides of a shirt cuff, passed through a hole in each side of the cuff …   English new terms dictionary

  • cufflink — /ˈkʌflɪŋk / (say kuflingk) noun a link which fastens a shirt cuff …   Australian English dictionary

  • cufflink — noun jewelry consisting of one of a pair of linked buttons used to fasten the cuffs of a shirt (Freq. 1) • Hypernyms: ↑jewelry, ↑jewellery …   Useful english dictionary

  • Cuff link — A cufflink (also cuff link or cuff link) is a decorative fastener worn by men or women to fasten the two sides of the cuff on a dress shirt or blouse.Cufflinks are designed only for use with link cuffs (also known as French Cuffs or double cuffs) …   Wikipedia

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