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From Middle English cloth, clath, from Old English clāþ (cloth, clothes, covering, sail), from Proto-Germanic *klaiþą (garment), from Proto-Indo-European *gleyt- (to cling to, cleave, stick). Cognate with Scots clath (cloth), North Frisian klaid (dress, garment), Saterland Frisian Klood (dress, apparel), West Frisian kleed (cloth, article of clothing), Dutch kleed (robe, dress), Low German kleed (dress, garment), German Kleid (gown, dress), Danish klæde (cloth, dress), Norwegian klede, Swedish kläde (cloth), Icelandic klæði (cloth, dressing), Old English clīþan (to adhere, stick). Compare Albanian ngjit (to stick, attach, glue).



cloth (plural cloths or clothes)

  1. (uncountable) A woven fabric such as used in dressing, decorating, cleaning or other practical use.
    • 1905, Baroness Emmuska Orczy, chapter 2, in The Lisson Grove Mystery[1]:
      “H'm !” he said, “so, so—it is a tragedy in a prologue and three acts. I am going down this afternoon to see the curtain fall for the third time on what [...] will prove a good burlesque ; but it all began dramatically enough. It was last Saturday […] that two boys, playing in the little spinney just outside Wembley Park Station, came across three large parcels done up in American cloth. […]”
  2. (countable) A piece of cloth used for a particular purpose.
  3. (Can we verify(+) this sense?) A form of attire that represents a particular profession.
  4. (in idioms) Priesthood, clergy.
    He is a respected man of the cloth.


Derived termsEdit

Related termsEdit


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