Scarf or muffler?

This thread made me think about the word “scarf.” To me a “scarf” is made of some light material, like silk, and is primarily used as for stylistic purposes. When you wrap something around your neck in order to keep warm, like something made from knitted wool, I call that a “muffler.”

Anyone else make such a distinction?

In my world, a scarf goes around the neck, and a muffler is the furry tube-thing that ladies in horsedrawn sleighs use to keep their hands warm.

I have no cite. :smiley:

I think that’s just a “muff.” A muffler is worn around the neck, but I don’t know how it’s different from a scarf.

I think all mufflers are scarves, but not all scarves are mufflers.

I always thought muffler was the British word for (the woolly kind of) scarf or the American word for the fur-lined hand-warmer. A muff, while etymologically related, is in modern lingo something different altogether!

While I know that a warming scarf can be a muffler, I don’t use the term. So when I hear the word muffler on its own, I think car exhaust attachment.

When I hear it used in a sentence, I understand what is meant by context.

And the round furry thing is a muff.

Here in Wisconsin, a scarf goes on a human, and a muffler goes on a car.
A muff is a furry thing that warms your appendages. :smiley:

What I (from Philly) wear around my neck to keep warm is a scarf. My wife (from NYC, but her mother grew up in Louisville) calls it a muffler. So there.

My great uncle, the sole family member to live in a snow area, used to say a scarf was a muffler only when you used it to keep your kids quiet by wrapping it around their heads.

Growing up in Wisconsin, I frequently heard it called a muffler. Haven’t heard that term, for that item, in many years.

Moving this to IMHO.

samclem Moderator, General Questions

That’s wierd, I was just thinking about this exact question the other week, reading Connie Willis’s “Doomsday Book”. There was a ‘muffler’ mentioned frequently in the story, and each time it really grated on me as in innapropriate (presumed) Americanism. I’ve never heard a British person say “muffler” except referring to car exhausts. It’s a scarf, no matter what it’s made of.

Strange. All I know is that in the nineties, in southeast WI, “muffler” was a strange, only-used-in-old-books type of word.

Nah, it’s less an Americanism than an elderlyism. Grandmas remind you to get your muffler, but she means a scarf. Unless, of course, she or Grandpa used to be mechanics, then they might mean muffler the way the rest of us do:D

Muffler means the thing on your car, though occasionally I hear it the other way.

Scarf means the warm thing around your neck.

Sorry, in NY - forgot my location doesn’t show anymore. Also, I remember my parents called it a muffler.

Yes, this, exactly.
IME, the only people who use the term ‘muffler’ are all over the age of ninety.

I thought the British used the term “silencer” for the auto part.

In my humble opinion

A scarf is:
a. a decorative, silky addition to an outfit
b. a warm, woolly item to wrap about your neck and chin when you’re out in the cold.

A muffler is:
a. the thing that keeps your car quiet and costs millions of dollars to replace because it needs all kinds of connectors and tubes and widgets no matter WHERE you go to have the work done.
b. how your Granny refers to a scarf

A muff is:
a. a tubular hand-warmer (I had a rabbit fur one I wore to church as a kid – I had the matching mittens and wasn’t I hot shit with that combo! :cool:)
b. female genitalia, the hairy part in particular

To me a scarf is the thing you wear around your neck outside, and a dressy scarf is what you wear as a fashion accent.

Mufflers are a car part that wears out like clockwork on Nissan Sentras.

To add to the confusion, before I opened the thread, I was wondering if you might be asking about neck gaiters, which are a tube you wear around your neck and pull up over your nose if it’s super-cold outside. I just finished knitting a few of them. I like them for outdoor tasks, because they keep my face and neck warm, but don’t dangle in my way or come un-tied. My kids like them for keeping warm at the bus stop. Here is a practical example of a gaiter:

I grew up in southeastern Wisconsin, calling a scarf a scarf. I never heard of gaiters till a year or two ago, but I would have loved having them in my Wisconsin childhood.