c. 1400, drapen, "to ornament with cloth hangings;" mid-15c., "to weave into cloth," from Old French draper "to weave, make cloth" (13c., in Modern French "to cover with mourning-cloth, dress, drape"), from drap "cloth, piece of cloth, sheet, bandage," from Late Latin drapus, which is perhaps of Gaulish origin (compare Old Irish drapih "mantle, garment"). Meaning "to cover with drapery" is from 1847. Meaning "to cause to hang or stretch out loosely or carelessly" is from 1943. Related: Draped; draping.
1660s, "cloth, drapery," from drape (v.). Jive talk slang for "suit of clothes" is attested from 1945. Drapes "curtains" is by 1895.
late 14c. (mid-14c. in Anglo-French; mid-12c. as a surname), "one who weaves and/or sells cloth," from Anglo-French draper, Old French drapier (13c.) "draper, clothes-seller, clothes-maker," agent noun from drap "cloth" (see drape (v.)).
late 14c., "horse-cloth," from Middle English trappe "ornamental cloth for a horse" (c. 1300), later "personal effects" (mid-15c.), from Anglo-French trape, an alteration of Old French drap "cloth" (see drape (n.)).
early 14c., draperie, "cloth, textiles," from Old French draperie (12c.) "weaving, cloth-making, clothes shop," from drap "cloth, piece of cloth" (see drape (v.)). From late 14c. as "place where cloth is made; cloth market." Meaning "stuff with which something is draped" is from 1680s.
1715, "yellowish-gray; of the color of natural, undyed cloth," from the trade name for the color itself (1680s), which is from an earlier noun drab, drap meaning "thick, woolen cloth of a yellowish-gray color" (1540s), from French drap "cloth, piece of cloth" (see drape (v.)). The figurative sense of "dull, not bright or colorful" is by 1880.
Apparently this word is not related to earlier noun drab "a dirty, untidy woman" (1510s), "a prostitute" (1520s), which might be from Irish drabog, Gaelic drabag "dirty woman," or perhaps it is connected with Dutch and Low German drabbe "dirt;" compare drabble. The notion seems to be of dabbling in the wet and mud.
The meaning "small, petty debt" (the sense in dribs and drabs) is by 1828, of uncertain connection to the other senses.
1942, American English slang, the first element probably a nonsense reduplication of suit (compare reet pleat, drape shape from the same jargon).
c. 1300, curtine, "hanging screen of textile fabric used to close an opening or shut out light, enclose a bed, or decorate an altar," from Old French cortine "curtain, tapestry, drape, blanket," from Late Latin cortina "curtain," but in classical Latin "round vessel, cauldron," from Latin cortem (older cohortem) "enclosure, courtyard" (see cohort).
The meaning shift apparently begins with cortina being used as a loan-translation of Greek aulaia ("curtain") in the Vulgate (to render Hebrew yeriah in Exodus xxvi:1, etc.). The Greek word was connected to aule "court," perhaps because the "door" that led out to the courtyard of a Greek house was a hung cloth.
Figuratively from early 15c. as "something that conceals or screens." From 1590s as "large sheet used to conceal the stage in a theater." Many of the figurative senses are from stage plays: Behind the curtain "concealed" is from 1670s; curtains "the end" is by 1912. The theatrical curtain call "appearance of individual performers on stage at the end of a performance to be recognized by the audience" is from 1884. To draw the curtain is from c. 1500 in opposite senses: "to conceal," and "to reveal." Curtain-rod is from c. 1500. An Old English word for "curtain" was fleonet "fly-net."