An aglet (or aiglet) is a small sheath, often made of plastic or metal, used on each end of a shoelace, cord, or drawstring. An aglet keeps the fibers of the lace or cord from unraveling; its firmness and narrow profile make it easier to hold and easier to feed through the eyelets, lugs, or other lacing guides.
The word aglet (or aiglet) comes from Old French; aguillette, which is the diminutive of aguille (or aiguille), meaning needle. The original word for needle in Latin is "acus" which is where the word aglet comes from. 
There is a subtle distinction between aglets, which are generally functional, and aiguillettes, which are generally decorative. The latter usually appear at the end of decorative cords, such as bolo ties, and the identically named aiguillettes of military dress uniforms.
Aglets today are most often made of plastic; they also have been made of metal, glass, and stone. Many were highly ornamental and made of precious metals such as silver. Before the invention of buttons, they were used on the ends of ribbons to fasten clothing together. Sometimes they were formed into small figures. Shakespeare calls this type of figure an "aglet baby" in The Taming of the Shrew.
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