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From The Collaborative International Dictionary of English v.0.48:
Cuirass \Cui*rass"\ (kw[-e]*r[.a]s", or kw[=e]"r[a^]s; 277), n.; pl. Cuirasses(-[e^]z). [F.cuirasse, orig., a breastplate of leather, for OF. cuir['e]e, cuirie influenced by It. corazza, or Sp. coraza, fr. an assumed LL. coriacea, fr. L. coriaceus, adj., of leather, fr. corium leather, hide; akin to Gr. cho`rion intestinal membrane, OSlav. skora hide, Lith. skura hide, leather. Cf. Coriaceous.] 1. (a) A piece of defensive armor, covering the body from the neck to the girdle. (b) The breastplate taken by itself. [1913 Webster] Note: The cuirass covered the body before and behind. It consisted of two parts, a breast- and backpiece of iron fastened together by means of straps and buckles or other like contrivances. It was originally, as the name imports, made of leather, but afterward of metal. --Grose. [1913 Webster] 2. (Zool) An armor of bony plates, somewhat resembling a cuirass. [1913 Webster]