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Hankerchief vs. Handkerchief — Which is Correct Spelling?

By Tayyaba Rehman & Fiza Rafique — Updated on April 3, 2024
"Hankerchief" is incorrect; the correct spelling is "Handkerchief," a square piece of cloth used for wiping the nose or face.
Hankerchief vs. Handkerchief — Which is Correct Spelling?

Which is correct: Hankerchief or Handkerchief

How to spell Handkerchief?


Incorrect Spelling


Correct Spelling

Key Differences

Break it down: "hand" + "kerchief" to emphasize the two parts of the word.
Associate "kerchief" with "cover," since kerchiefs can cover the head or face, and both words contain the letter "e."
"D" comes before "k" in the alphabet, just as in "handkerchief."
Remember "hand" as in "hand-held" – handkerchiefs are often held in hand.
Visualize the word with an image of a hand holding a kerchief to link the concept to the spelling.

How Do You Spell Handkerchief Correctly?

Incorrect: I found a beautiful silk hankerchief at the store.
Correct: I found a beautiful silk handkerchief at the store.
Incorrect: Can you lend me a hankerchief? I need to blow my nose.
Correct: Can you lend me a handkerchief? I need to blow my nose.
Incorrect: She pulled out a hankerchief to wipe her eyes.
Correct: She pulled out a handkerchief to wipe her eyes.
Incorrect: She embroidered her initials on the hankerchief.
Correct: She embroidered her initials on the handkerchief.
Incorrect: He dropped his hankerchief as he was walking.
Correct: He dropped his handkerchief as he was walking.

Handkerchief Definitions

In historical contexts, a handkerchief signaled social or romantic messages;
She dropped her handkerchief as a discreet signal to her suitor.
A handkerchief is a small square of fabric for personal hygiene;
She dabbed her eyes with a lace handkerchief.
Traditionally, a handkerchief is used for wiping the nose or face;
He offered his handkerchief to the weeping child.
A handkerchief can also be a fashion accessory;
He wore a silk handkerchief in his suit pocket.
Handkerchiefs are often keepsakes or souvenirs;
She kept her grandmother's embroidered handkerchief as a memento.
A small square of cloth used especially for wiping the nose or mouth.
A large piece of cloth worn as a decorative article; a scarf.
A piece of cloth, usually square and often fine and elegant, carried for wiping the face, eyes, nose or hands.
A piece of cloth shaped like a handkerchief to be worn about the neck; a neckerchief or neckcloth.
A piece of cloth, usually square and often fine and elegant, carried for wiping the face or hands.
A piece of cloth shaped like a handkerchief to be worn about the neck; a neckerchief; a neckcloth.
A square piece of cloth used for wiping the eyes or nose or as a costume accessory

Handkerchief Meaning in a Sentence

The magician pulled a rabbit out of a handkerchief.
The handkerchief was soaked after he wiped his sweaty forehead.
He kept a handkerchief in his pocket to use whenever he sneezed.
Before the invention of tissues, everyone carried a handkerchief.
The handkerchief was too dirty to use again without washing.
During the play, the actress dabbed her eyes with a handkerchief.
She bought a lace handkerchief for her grandmother.
He waved his handkerchief as a goodbye signal.
She tied a knot in her handkerchief to remember to buy milk.
He had a collection of handkerchiefs from different countries.
The handkerchief had a monogram stitched in the corner.
The handkerchief was embroidered with beautiful flowers.
She found an old handkerchief in the attic, still smelling of lavender.
He used his handkerchief to clean his glasses.
She soaked the handkerchief in water and used it to cool her face.
The handkerchief fluttered to the ground as the wind blew.
His handkerchief was a handy tool for cleaning up small messes.
Each handkerchief in her collection told a story.
He pulled a crisp, white handkerchief from his pocket and offered it to her.
She used her handkerchief to wrap around a small gift.
She dropped her handkerchief, hoping her crush would pick it up.
In old movies, people often drop a handkerchief as a flirtatious gesture.
A handkerchief can be a practical accessory in hot weather.
The handkerchief in his suit pocket matched his tie.
The handkerchief had a scent that reminded her of home.

Handkerchief Idioms & Phrases

Pocket handkerchief

A very small piece of land or garden.
They had just a pocket handkerchief of a backyard in their new apartment.

To throw in the handkerchief

To admit defeat or give up.
After hours of trying to fix the car, he finally threw in the handkerchief.

Handkerchief courtship

A form of courtship in which a handkerchief plays a symbolic role, often by being dropped by a woman for a man to pick up.
In the novel, their romance began with a handkerchief courtship, leading to their eventual marriage.

Common Curiosities

What is the pronunciation of Handkerchief?

The pronunciation is "HAN-ker-chif."

Why is it called Handkerchief?

It is called "handkerchief" because it was originally a piece of cloth for covering the head (kerchief) and later adapted for use in the hand.

What is the verb form of Handkerchief?

There is no verb form of "handkerchief;" it is a noun.

Which vowel is used before Handkerchief?

The vowel "a" is used before "handkerchief" in "a handkerchief."

What is the root word of Handkerchief?

The root word is "kerchief," from the French "couvrechef," meaning "cover head."

What is the singular form of Handkerchief?

The singular form is "handkerchief."

What is the plural form of Handkerchief?

The plural form is "handkerchiefs."

Which preposition is used with Handkerchief?

Prepositions like "with," "in," or "on" can be used, depending on context.

Is Handkerchief a negative or positive word?

"Handkerchief" is neutral; it is neither inherently negative nor positive.

Which conjunction is used with Handkerchief?

Conjunctions like "and" or "or" can be used with "handkerchief."

Is Handkerchief a vowel or consonant?

"Handkerchief" is a word, not a vowel or consonant.

Is Handkerchief a collective noun?

No, "handkerchief" is not a collective noun.

Is the Handkerchief term a metaphor?

"Handkerchief" itself is not a metaphor; it directly refers to the item.

Is the word “Handkerchief” a Direct object or an Indirect object?

"Handkerchief" can be either, depending on its use in a sentence.

What part of speech is Handkerchief?

"Handkerchief" is a noun.

What is the first form of Handkerchief?

The first form is "handkerchief," referring to its base noun form.

Which article is used with Handkerchief?

The indefinite article "a" or the definite article "the" can be used with "handkerchief."

Is the word Handkerchief imperative?

No, "handkerchief" is a noun, not an imperative verb form.

How many syllables are in Handkerchief?

There are three syllables in "handkerchief."

Is Handkerchief an adverb?

No, "handkerchief" is not an adverb.

Is Handkerchief a countable noun?

Yes, "handkerchief" is a countable noun.

Is the word Handkerchief a Gerund?

No, "handkerchief" is not a gerund.

How do we divide Handkerchief into syllables?

It is divided as "han-ker-chief."

What is the opposite of Handkerchief?

There isn't a direct opposite, but in function, perhaps a "towel" or "tissue" as they are less personal and reusable.

What is the third form of Handkerchief?

Similarly, there is no third form for the noun "handkerchief."

Is Handkerchief a noun or adjective?

"Handkerchief" is a noun.

Is Handkerchief an abstract noun?

No, "handkerchief" is a concrete noun, as it refers to a physical object.

What is the stressed syllable in Handkerchief?

The first syllable "han" is stressed in "handkerchief."

What is another term for Handkerchief?

Another term could be "hanky" or "napkin."

Which determiner is used with Handkerchief?

Determiners like "the," "a," "my," or "your" can be used with "handkerchief."

What is the second form of Handkerchief?

There is no second form; "handkerchief" remains unchanged as it is a noun.

How is Handkerchief used in a sentence?

"He pulled a handkerchief from his pocket to wipe his brow."

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Author Spotlight

Written by
Tayyaba Rehman
Tayyaba Rehman is a distinguished writer, currently serving as a primary contributor to As a researcher in semantics and etymology, Tayyaba's passion for the complexity of languages and their distinctions has found a perfect home on the platform. Tayyaba delves into the intricacies of language, distinguishing between commonly confused words and phrases, thereby providing clarity for readers worldwide.
Co-written by
Fiza Rafique
Fiza Rafique is a skilled content writer at, where she meticulously refines and enhances written pieces. Drawing from her vast editorial expertise, Fiza ensures clarity, accuracy, and precision in every article. Passionate about language, she continually seeks to elevate the quality of content for readers worldwide.

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