"a fabric on which colored threads of wool, silk, gold, or silver are fixed to produce a pattern," late 14c., tapiestre, with unetymological -t-, from Old French tapisserie "tapestry" (14c.), from tapisser "to cover with heavy fabric," from tapis "heavy fabric, carpet," from tapiz "carpet, floor covering" (12c.), from Vulgar Latin *tappetium, from Byzantine Greek tapetion, from classical Greek, diminutive of tapes (genitive tapetos) "heavy fabric, carpet, rug," from an Iranian source (compare Persian taftan "to turn, twist"), from PIE *temp- "to stretch." The figurative use is first recorded 1580s.
1862, "having a delusive appearance of high quality," a Northern word from the American Civil War in reference to the quality of government supplies for the armies, from earlier noun meaning "rag-wool, wool made of woolen waste and old rags" (1832), perhaps a Yorkshire provincial word, of uncertain origin; according to Watkins from the same Old English source as shed (v.).
Originally used for padding, English manufacturers began making coarse wearing clothes from it, and when new it looked like broad-cloth but the gloss quickly wore off, giving the stuff a bad reputation as a cheat. The 1860 U.S. census of manufactures notes import of more than 6 million pounds of it, which was "much used in the manufacture of army and navy cloths and blankets in the United States" according to an 1865 government report.
The Days of Shoddy, as the reader will readily anticipate, are the opening months of the present war, at which time the opprobrious name first came into general use as a designation for swindling and humbug of every character; and nothing more need be said to indicate the scope of this novel. [Henry Morford, "The Days of Shoddy: A Novel of the Great Rebellion in 1861," Philadelphia, 1863]
Related: Shoddily; shoddiness.
late 14c., sarge, in reference to a woolen cloth in use in the Middle Ages, apparently of a coarse texture, from Old French sarge, serge (12c.), Medieval Latin sargium, sargea "cloth of wool mixed with silk or linen," from Vulgar Latin *sarica, from Latin serica (vestis) "silken (garment)," from serica, from Greek serikē, fem. of serikos "silken" (see silk).
In later use of a kind of strong, durable fabric, originally woven of silk, later of worsted. The French word is the source of German sarsche, Danish sarge, etc. Also as a verb. Related: Serger.
early 15c., "the skin of a fur-bearing animal with the hair on it," especially of the smaller animals used in furriery, a word of uncertain origin, perhaps a contraction of pelet (c. 1300 in Anglo-Latin), from Old French pelete "fine skin, membrane," diminutive of pel "skin," from Latin pellis "skin, hide" (from PIE root *pel- (3) "skin, hide"). Or perhaps the English word is a back-formation Anglo-French pelterie, Old French peletrie "fur skins," from Old French peletier "furrier," from pel. It was later used also of skins stripped of wool or fur (1560s).
The Medieval Latin word was held by folk-etymology to be from Arabic abu arak, literally "the father of sweat," supposedly so called by Arab physicians for its effect on humans. But OED and other sources find it rather to be from Latin borra "rough hair, short wool," in reference to the texture of the foliage. Related: Boraginaceous.
1610s, earlier mocayre, 1560s, "fine hair of the Angora goat," also a fabric made from this, from French mocayart (16c.), Italian mocaiarro, both from Arabic mukhayyar "cloth of goat hair," literally "selected, choice," from mu-, noun prefix, + khayar "choosing, preferring." The stuff was imported to Europe 14c.-15c. under the name camlet. Later used of imitations made of wool and cotton. Spelling influenced in English by association with hair. Moire "watered silk" (1650s) also used in reference to the shimmering visual effect, probably represents English mohair borrowed into French and back into English.
Old English hunigcamb; see honey (n.) + comb (n.). This use of the Germanic "comb" word seems to be peculiar to English, and the likeness is not obvious. Perhaps the image is from the comb used in wool-combing, but that extended sense of comb is not attested before Middle English. In other Germanic languages the word for it is "honey-string," "honey-cake," "bee-wafer," etc. Latin has favus, Greek melikerion.
Transferred use, in reference to various structures resembling honeycomb, is from 1520s. As a verb, from 1620s (implied in honeycombed).
"iron bar, bent at right angles at one end, for stirring molten metal," 1864, from French râble, from Old French roable, from Latin rutabulum "rake, fire shovel" (in Medieval Latin also rotabulum), from ruere "to churn or plow up, dig out," (from PIE *reuo-, source also of Sanskrit ravisam, ravat "to wound, hurt;" Lithuanian ráuti "to tear out, pull," ravėti "to weed;" Russian ryt'i, roju "to dig," Old Church Slavonic rylo "spade," Old Norse ryja "to tear out wool," German roden "to root out").
suffix added to nouns to produce adjectives meaning "made of, of the nature of" (such as golden, oaken, woolen), corresponding to Latin -anus, -inus, Greek -inos; from Proto-Germanic *-ina- (from PIE *-no-, adjectival suffix).
Common in Old, Middle, and early Modern English: e.g. fyren "on fire; made of fire," rosen "made or consisting of roses," hunden "of dogs, canine," beanen "of beans," baken "baked," breaden "of bread;" Wyclif has reeden made of or consisting of reeds." The few surviving instances are largely discarded in everyday use, and the simple form of the noun doubles as adjective (gold ring, wool sweater). Some are used in special contexts (brazen, wooden).