Etymology
Advertisement
fabric (n.)

late 15c. (Caxton), "a building," a sense now obsolete, from Old French fabrique (14c.), verbal noun from fabriquer (13c.), from Latin fabricare "to make, construct, fashion, build," from fabrica "workshop," also "an art, trade; a skillful production, structure, fabric," from faber "artisan who works in hard materials," from Proto-Italic *fafro-, from PIE *dhabh-, perhaps meaning "craftsman" (source also of Armenian darbin "smith," and possibly also Lithuanian dabà "nature, habit, character," dabnùs "smart, well-dressed, elegant;" Russian dobryj "good," Gothic gadob "it fits," Old English gedēfe "fitting;" also see daft).

The noun fabrica suggests the earlier existence of a feminine noun to which an adj. *fabriko- referred; maybe ars "art, craft." [de Vaan]

From 1630s as "a thing made; a structure of any kind." The sense in English has evolved via "manufactured material" (1753) to "textile, woven or felted cloth" (1791). Compare forge (n.) which is a doublet.

Related entries & more 
Advertisement
fabricate (v.)
mid-15c., "to fashion, make, build," from Latin fabricatus, past participle of fabricare "to make, construct, fashion, build," from fabrica (see fabric). In bad sense of "tell a lie (etc.)," it is recorded by 1779. Related: Fabricated; fabricating.
Related entries & more 
forge (n.)
late 14c., "a smithy," from Old French forge "forge, smithy" (12c.), earlier faverge, from Latin fabrica "workshop, smith's shop," hence also "a trade, an industry;" also "a skillful production, a crafty device," from faber (genitive fabri) "workman in hard materials, smith" (see fabric). As the heating apparatus itself (a furnace fitted with a bellows), from late 15c. Forge-water (1725), in which heated iron has been dipped, was used popularly as a medicine in 18c.
Related entries & more 
tapestry (n.)

"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.

Related entries & more 
percale (n.)

1620s, name of a kind of closely and firmly woven fabric imported from the East, from French percale, a word of uncertain origin, perhaps ultimately from Persian pargalah "a rag." In modern use (1840) a fabric of French manufacture.

Related entries & more 
Advertisement
rep (2)

type of corded fabric, by 1860, from French reps, which is of unknown origin.

Related entries & more 
muslin (n.)
c. 1600, "delicately woven cotton fabric," from French mousseline (17c.), from Italian mussolina, from Mussolo, Italian name of Mosul, city in northern Mesopotamia (modern Iraq) where muslin was made. Like many fabric names, it has changed meaning over the years, in this case from luxurious to commonplace. In 13c. French, mosulin meant "cloth of silk and gold." The meaning "everyday cotton fabric for shirts, bedding, etc." is first attested 1872 in American English.
Related entries & more 
stockinet (n.)
elastic, machine-made fabric used for undergarments, 1824, from stocking + diminutive ending -et.
Related entries & more 
chinos (n.)
(plural) 1943, from American Spanish chino, the name of the fabric from which they are made (see chino).
Related entries & more 
plush (n.)

"soft fabric, cloth having a softer and longer nap than that of velvet," 1590s, from French pluche "shag, plush," contraction of peluche "hairy fabric," from Old French peluchier "to pull, to tug, to pluck" (the final process in weaving plush), from Vulgar Latin *piluccare "remove hair" (see pluck (v.)). Related: Plushy; plushness.

Related entries & more