late 14c., "flax prepared for spinning," also "refuse of flax used as kindling," somehow from the source of Old English lin "flax" (see linen). Perhaps from or by influence of French linette "grain of flax," diminutive of lin "flax," from Latin linum "flax, linen;" Klein suggests from Latin linteum "linen cloth," neuter of adjective linteus.
Later "flocculent flax refuse used as tinder or for dressing wounds" (c. 1400). Still used for "flax" in Scotland in Burns' time. Applied to stray cotton fluff from 1610s, though in later use this is said to be American English.
machine for smoothing and pressing linen and cotton clothes after washing, 1774, from Dutch mangel (18c.), apparently short for mangelstok, from stem of mangelen to mangle, from Middle Dutch mange, which probably is somehow from to Vulgar Latin *manganum "machine" (see mangonel), "but its history has not been precisely traced" [OED].
The possession of a mangle, for the use of which a small sum was charged, is, among the poorer classes of English cottagers, a common means of earning money. The question 'Has your mother sold her mangle?' (quot. 1836-7) was at one time the commonest piece of 'chaff' used by London street-boys. [OED]
standard commercial measure of paper, rem, mid-14c., from Old French reyme, from Spanish resma, from Arabic rizmah "bundle" (of paper), from rasama "collect into a bundle." The Moors brought manufacture of cotton paper to Spain.
The exact path of transmission of the word to English is unclear, and it might have entered from more than one language. An early variant rym (late 15c.) suggests a Dutch influence: compare Middle Dutch rieme, Dutch riem, which probably were borrowed from Spanish during the Hapsburg control of Holland. For ordinary writing paper, 20 quires of 24 sheets each, or 480 sheets; often 500 or more to allow for waste; the count varies slightly for drawing or printing paper.
"cotton cloth printed with flowers or other colorful patterns," 1719, plural of chint (1610s), from Hindi chint, from Sanskrit chitra-s "clear, bright" (compare cheetah). The plural (the more common form of the word in commercial use) came to be regarded as singular by late 18c., and for unknown reason shifted -s to -z; perhaps after quartz. Disparaging sense, from the commonness of the fabric, is first suggested by 1851 (in George Eliot's use of chintzy).
The term chintz-work is descriptive of that kind of calico-printing which is employed for beds, window-curtains, and other furniture, and it differs more in the richness and variety of the colours, than in any other circumstance. [Abraham Rees, "Cyclopaedia," 1819]
1640s, "downy, fuzzy," later "flimsy, unsubstantial" (1660s), of unknown origin; one theory is that it is a corruption of Silesia, the German region, where thin linen or cotton fabric was made for export. Silesia in reference to cloth is attested in English from 1670s; and sleazy as an abbreviated form is attested from 1670), but OED is against this. Sense of "sordid" is from 1941. Related: Sleazily; sleaziness.
A day is a more magnificent cloth than any muslin, the mechanism that makes it is infinitely cunninger, and you shall not conceal the sleazy, fraudulent, rotten hours you have slipped into the piece, nor fear that any honest thread, or straighter steel, or more inflexible shaft, will not testify in the web. [Emerson, "The Conduct of Life," 1860]
1938, coined, according to DuPont, from a random generic syllable nyl- + -on, a common ending in fiber names (compare rayon and later Dacron), said to be ultimately from cotton. "Consumer Reports" in 1939 called it "duPont's much-publicised new miracle yarn, which is scheduled to appear in 5,000,000 stockings next year and which is meantime giving rise to many rumors, hopes and fears." As an adjective from 1939. Nylons for "nylon stockings" is from 1940.
Nylon is the generic name chosen by the Dupont Company for a group of materials classed as synthetic linear superpolymers. It has also been defined as a "Man made protein-like chemical product (polyamide) which may be formed into fibers, bristles, sheets, and other forms, characterized when drawn by extreme toughness, elasticity, and strength." ["The Michigan Technic," August 1945]
1640s, "course, direction," from Latin ductus "a leading, a conduit pipe," noun use of past participle of ducere "to lead" (from PIE root *deuk- "to lead"). Anatomical sense "vessel of an animal body by which blood, lymph, etc., are conveyed" is from 1660s. Meaning "conduit, channel" is 1713; that of "air tube in a structure" is from 1884.
Duct tape originally was duck tape (1894), long, non-adhesive strips of plain cotton duck cloth used in various mechanical processes; from duck (n.2). The name was transferred to a plastic-coated adhesive tape used by U.S. soldiers in World War II (perhaps in part because it was waterproof). It continued in civilian use after the war, and the name shifted to duct tape by 1958, perhaps because it was frequently used on air ducts, which also accounts for its standard silver-gray color.
"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]