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cloth (n.)

"woven fabric, pliable stuff made of intertexture of threads or fibers," Old English claþ "a cloth, sail, cloth covering, woven or felted material to wrap around one," hence, also, "garment," from Proto-Germanic *kalithaz (source also of Old Frisian klath "cloth," Middle Dutch cleet, Dutch kleed "garment, dress," Middle High German kleit, German Kleid "garment"), which is of obscure origin, perhaps a substratum word.

As an adjective, "made or consisting of cloth," from 1590s. Meaning "distinctive clothing worn by some group" (servants of one house, men of some profession or trade) is from 1590s, hence The cloth "the clerical profession" (1701).

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hand-cloth (n.)
Old English hand-claþe; see hand (n.) + cloth (n.).
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cheese-cloth (n.)

"coarse cotton fabric of open texture," 1650s, originally cloth in which curds were pressed, from cheese (n.1) + cloth.

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oil-cloth (n.)

also oilcloth, 1690s, "cotton or a similar fabric waterproofed with oil," from oil (n.) + cloth. In reference to an oil-treated canvas used as a cheap floor covering, 1796.

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loin-cloth (n.)
also loincloth, "cloth worn about the loins" (properly the hips), 1851, from loin (n.) + cloth (n.).
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dish-cloth (n.)

also dishcloth, "cloth for washing dishes," 1828, from dish (n.) + cloth. It relegated earlier dish-clout (1520s) to dialect. Dish-rag is by 1839. All have been taken as types of limpness or weakness. Dish-mop, "bundle of threads or cloth scraps fixed securely on a stick," used when the dish-waster is hotter than the hands can bear, is by 1856.

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haircloth (n.)
cloth made from the shorter hairs of animals, early 15c., from hair + cloth.
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tablecloth (n.)
also table-cloth, "cloth for covering the top of a table," mid-15c., from table (n.) + cloth.
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broadcloth (n.)
also broad-cloth, "fine woolen cloth used in making men's garments," early 15c., from broad (adj.) + cloth (n.). So called from its width (usually 60 inches).
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