Etymology
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ribbon (n.)

early 14c., riban, ribane, from Anglo-French rubain, Old French riban "a ribbon," variant of ruban (13c.), a word of unknown origin, possibly from a Germanic compound whose second element is related to band (n.1); compare Middle Dutch ringhband "necklace."

The modern spelling is from mid-16c. Originally a stripe in a material; the sense of "narrow woven band of some find material" for ornamental or other purposes is by 1520s. The word was extended to other long, thin, flexible strips by 1763; the meaning "ink-soaked strip wound on a spool for use on a typewriter" is by 1883. A a torn strip of anything (fabric, clouds, etc.) by 1820. As a verb, "adorn with ribbons," by 1716. Related: Ribboned. The custom of wearing colored ribbon loops on the lapel to declare support for some group perceived as suffering or oppressed began in 1991 with AIDS red ribbons.

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corduroy (n.)

"thick, cotton stuff with a corded or ridged surface," 1774, probably from cord + obsolete 17c. duroy, name of a coarse fabric made in England, which is of unknown origin. Folk etymology is from *corde du roi "the king's cord," but this is not attested in French, where the term for the cloth was velours à côtes. As an adjective from 1789. Applied in U.S. to a road of logs across swampy ground (1780s) on similarity of appearance.

CORDUROY ROAD. A road or causeway constructed with logs laid together over swamps or marshy places. When properly finished earth is thrown between them by which the road is made smooth; but in newly settled parts of the United States they are often left uncovered, and hence are extremely rough and bad to pass over with a carriage. Sometimes they extend many miles. They derive their name from their resemblance to a species of ribbed velvet, called corduroy. [Bartlett]
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bleach (v.)

Old English blæcan, of cloth or fabric, "to make white by removing color, whiten" (by exposure to chemical agents or the sun), from Proto-Germanic *blaikjan "to make white" (source also of Old Saxon blek, Old Norse bleikr, Dutch bleek, Old High German bleih, German bleich "pale;" Old Norse bleikja, Dutch bleken, German bleichen "to make white, cause to fade"), from PIE root *bhel- (1) "to shine, flash, burn," also "shining white."

The same root probably produced black, perhaps because both black and white are colorless, or because both are associated in different ways with burning. Compare Old English scimian meaning both "to shine" and "to dim, grow dusky, grow dark," which is related to the source of shine. Intransitive sense "become white" is from 1610s. Related: Bleached; bleaching. The past participle in Middle English was sometimes blaught.

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print (n.)

c. 1300, prente, "impression, mark made by impression upon a surface" (as by a stamp or seal), from Old French preinte "impression," noun use of fem. past participle of preindre "to press, crush," altered from prembre, from Latin premere "to press, hold fast, cover, crowd, compress" (from PIE root *per- (4) "to strike"). The Old French word also was borrowed into Middle Dutch (prente, Dutch prent) and other Germanic languages.

Sense of "a printed publication" (later especially a newspaper) is from 1560s. The meaning "printed lettering" is from 1620s; print-hand "print-like handwriting" is from 1650s. The sense of "picture or design from a block or plate" is attested from 1660s. Meaning "piece of printed cloth or fabric" is from 1756. The photographic sense is by 1853.

In Middle English, stigmata were called precious prentes of crist; to perceiven the print of sight was "to feel (someone's) gaze." Out of print "no longer to be had from the publisher" is from 1670s (to be in print "in printed form" is recorded from late 15c.). Print journalism attested from 1962, as distinguished from the television variety.

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rug (n.)

1550s, "a coarse, heavy, woolen fabric," a word of Scandinavian origin; compare Norwegian dialectal rugga "coarse coverlet," from Old Norse rogg "shaggy tuft," from Proto-Germanic *rawwa-. Perhaps it is related to rag (n.1) and rough (adj.), and compare rugged.

The original meaning is obsolete. The sense evolved or expanded to "thick coverlet or lap-robe, heavy woolen wrap" used for various purposes (1590s), then "mat for the floor" (by 1808). The meaning "toupee" is theater slang attested by 1940.

To cut a rug "dance" is slang attested by 1942 (rug-cutter "expert dancer" is recorded by 1938). To sweep or brush something under the rug in the figurative sense of "conceal in hopes it won't be noticed or remembered" is by 1954. Figurative expression pull the rug out from under (someone) "suddenly deprive of important support" is from 1936, American English. Earlier in same sense was cut the grass under (one's) feet (1580s).

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sew (v.)

"unite or attach (fabric, etc.) by means of thread or similar material, with or without aid of a needle or awl;" Middle English seuen, from Old English siwian "to stitch, sew, mend, patch, knit together, fasten by sewing," earlier siowian, from Proto-Germanic *siwjanan (source also of Old Norse syja, Swedish sy, Danish sye, Old Frisian sia, Old High German siuwan, Gothic siujan "to sew"), from PIE root *syu- "to bind, sew."

From c. 1200 as "produce or construct (clothing, a garment) by means of a needle and thread." The intransitive sense of "work with a needle or thread, practice sewing" is by mid-15c. Related: Sewed; sewing. Sewn is a modern variant past-participle.

To sew up (a wound, etc.) "close by stitching the edges together" is by late 15c. (Caxton); the modern colloquial sew (something) up "bring to a desired conclusion" is a figurative use attested by 1904.

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wad (n.)

early 15c., wadde, "small bunch of fibrous, soft material for padding or stuffing," of uncertain origin, perhaps from Medieval Latin wadda (14c., source also of French ouate, Italian ovate), or Dutch watten (source of German Watte), or Middle English wadmal (c. 1300) "coarse woolen cloth," which seems to be from Old Norse vaðmal "a woolen fabric of Scandinavia," probably from vað "cloth" + mal "measure."

The meaning "something bundled up tightly" (especially paper currency) is from 1778. To shoot (one's) wad "do all one can do" is recorded by 1860. The immediate source of the expression probably is the sense of "disk of cloth used to hold powder and shot in place in a gun." Wad in slang sense of "a load of semen" is attested from 1920s, and the expression now often is felt in this sense. As a suffix, -wad in 1980s joined -bag, -ball, -head in combinations meaning "disgusting or unpleasant person."

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needle (n.)

Old English nædl "small, pointed instrument for carrying a thread through woven fabric, leather, etc.," from Proto-Germanic *næthlo (source also of Old Saxon nathla, Old Norse nal, Old Frisian nedle, Old High German nadala, German Nadel, Gothic neþla "needle"), literally "a tool for sewing," from PIE *net-la-, from root *(s)ne- "to sew, to spin" (source also of Sanskrit snayati "wraps up," Greek nein "to spin," Latin nere "to spin," German nähen "to sew," Old Church Slavonic niti "thread," Old Irish snathat "needle," Welsh nyddu "to sew," nodwydd "needle") + instrumental suffix *-tla.

To seke out one lyne in all hys bookes wer to go looke a nedle in a meadow. [Thomas More, c. 1530]

Meaning "piece of magnetized steel in a compass" is from late 14c. (on a dial or indicator from 1928); the surgical instrument so called from 1727; phonographic sense from 1902; sense of "leaf of a fir or pine tree" first attested 1797. Needledom "the world of sewing" is from 1847. Needle's eye, figurative of a minute opening, often is a reference to Matthew xix.24.

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subtle (adj.)

c. 1300 (mid-13c. as a surname), sotil, "penetrating; ingenious; refined" (of the mind); "sophisticated, intricate, abstruse" (of arguments), from Old French sotil, soutil, subtil "adept, adroit; cunning, wise; detailed; well-crafted" (12c., Modern French subtil), from Latin subtilis "fine, thin, delicate, finely woven;" figuratively "precise, exact, accurate," in taste or judgment, "fine, keen," of style, "plain, simple, direct," from sub "under" (see sub-) + -tilis, from tela "web, net, warp of a fabric," from PIE root *teks- "to weave," also "to fabricate." According to Watkins, the notion is of the "thread passing under the warp" as the finest thread.

From early 14c. in reference to things, "of thin consistency;" in reference to craftsmen, "cunning, skilled, clever;" Depreciative sense "insidious, treacherously cunning; deceitful" is from mid-14c. Material senses of "not dense or viscous, light; pure; delicate, thin, slender; fine, consisting of small particles" are from late 14c. sotil wares were goods sold in powdered form or finely ground. Partially re-Latinized in spelling, and also by confusion with subtile.

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crepe (n.)

1797, "crape-like fabric," especially white or colored, not the ordinary black for mourning, from French crêpe, Old French crespe "ruff, ruffle, frill" (14c.), from Latin crispa, fem. of crispus "curled, wrinkled, having curly hair," from PIE root *sker- (2) "to turn, bend." Crepe paper is attested by 1895.

Meaning "small, thin pancake" is from 1877, from French galette crêpe "curled/wrinkled pancake" (compare crumpet). Recipes for what seem to be similar things are in English cookery books from late 14c., often as crispes, cryspes, but at least once as cryppys. Related: Creperie. Crepe suzette "light pancake served rolled or folded, sprinkled with orange liqueur or brandy and flambéed," is by 1910 in English (suzette pancake is from 1907) and was the usual form until c. 1980.

Contemporary evidence suggests that its most likely creator was a head waiter at Restaurant Paillard in Paris in 1889, and that it was named in honour of an actress in the Comédie Française who played the part of a maid serving pancakes. ... [T]hey were for perhaps the first two thirds of the twentieth century the epitome of the luxurious, expensive, and exclusive dessert. [Ayto, "Diner's Dictionary"]
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