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I've heard the claim that the armour widely known today as "chainmail" or "chain mail" was never historically never called by that name in the era when it was used in Europe, rather known as "mail" or "maille". It's also been supposed that the term "chainmail" was popularized by Dungeons & Dragons (first released in 1974) following the release of Gary Gygax's miniature wargame Chainmail in 1971.

Was the term "chainmail" or "chain mail" used during the era of its use, or is that name a modern invention?

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    Merriam Webster disctionary states the first attested use of chain mail was 1822. – sempaiscuba May 15 at 18:14
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    The Wikipedia page is more specific "chain-mail has become a commonly used, if incorrect, neologism first attested in Sir Walter Scott's 1822 novel The Fortunes of Nigel." – sempaiscuba May 15 at 18:18
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    I'm voting to close this question as off-topic because it is better suited to English Language and Usage – Pieter Geerkens May 15 at 18:27
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    @sempaiscuba: My OED (1928) confirms that attestation to Scott: "... it is not made of iron, nor my clothes of cheinze mail.", more or less. – Pieter Geerkens May 15 at 18:38
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It's a bit of both:

The first attestations of the word mail are in Old French and Anglo-Norman: maille, maile, or male or other variants, which became mailye, maille, maile, male, or meile in Middle English.

The modern usage of terms for mail armour is highly contested in popular and, to a lesser degree, academic culture. Medieval sources referred to armour of this type simply as mail; however, chain-mail has become a commonly used, if incorrect, neologism first attested in Sir Walter Scott's 1822 novel The Fortunes of Nigel.

As a further bit of context, the French word for it is "cotte de mailles", with "cotte" being the word that gave coat, and "mailles" being the word that gave mail. So mail coat, if you will.

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    You might point out that "mailles" translates to "mesh". – Spencer May 15 at 22:57

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