A gaiter is a kind of leg covering meant to protect the ankle. From its spelling and semantic similarity, I thought that it would come from the word gait ("manner of walking"). However, the word is completely unrelated, as it's actually an eighteenth century borrowing from French guetre, which meant "legging" and was associated with peasant attire. That has an uncertain origin, but is thought to come from the Old French word wrist, meaning "instep". That further derives from Proto-Germanic wristiz, which had connotations of turning and is the etymon of English wrist. One cool thing I noticed about the word gaiter is that it has increasingly been dissociated from its original definition: people are now selling neck gaiters and, ironically, wrist gaiters.
Adam Aleksic is a sophomore studying linguistics and government at Harvard University. He also has disturbing interests in politics, vexillology, geography, board games, conlanging, and law.