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8 entries found.
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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.
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sash (n.1)
strip of cloth, 1590s, originally in reference to Oriental dress, "strip of cloth twisted into a turban," from Arabic shash "muslin cloth." Meaning "strip of cloth worn about the waist or over the shoulder" first recorded 1680s.
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organdy (n.)

also organdie, "fine, transparent muslin used for women's dresses," 1829, from French organdi, defined as "sorte de Mousseline ou toile de coton" (1725), of unknown origin. Barnhart suggests it is an alteration of Organzi, from the medieval form of Urgench, a city in Uzbekistan that was a cotton textile center.

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calico (n.)
1530s, kalyko cloth, "white cotton cloth," from an alternative form of Calicut (modern Kozhikode), name of the seaport on the Malabar coast of India where Europeans first obtained it. In U.S. use from c. 1800, "printed cotton cloth coarser than muslin;" extended to animal colorings suggestive of printed calicos in 1807, originally of horses, of cats from 1882. The place-name (mentioned by Ptolemy as kalaikaris) is Tamil, said to mean "fort of Kalliai."
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turban (n.)

1560s, from French turbant (15c.), from Italian turbante (Old Italian tolipante), from Turkish tülbent "gauze, muslin, tulle," from Persian dulband "turban." The change of -l- to -r- may have taken place in Portuguese India and thence been picked up in other European languages. A men's headdress in Muslim lands, it was popular in Europe and America c. 1776-1800 as a ladies' fashion. Related: Turbaned.

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Madras 

former Indian state (modern Chennai, a Tamil name), the name sometimes is said to be from Sanskrit Mandra, a name of a god of the underworld, but it is perhaps rather from Arabic madrasa "school" (see madrasah) or Portuguese Madre (de Deus). The British fort there dates from 1639. Related: Madrasi.

Madras handkerchief "large handkerchief of silk and cotton, usually in bright colors" (1833) is from the place, from which brightly colored muslin cloth was exported.

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tulip (n.)
1570s, via Dutch or German tulpe, French tulipe "a tulip" (16c.), all ultimately from Turkish tülbent "turban," also "gauze, muslin," from Persian dulband "turban;" so called from the fancied resemblance of the flower to a turban.

Introduced from Turkey to Europe, where the earliest known instance of a tulip flowering in cultivation is 1559 in the garden of Johann Heinrich Herwart in Augsburg; popularized in Holland after 1587 by Clusius. The tulip-mania raged in Holland in the 1630s. The full form of the Turkish word is represented in Italian tulipano, Spanish tulipan, but the -an tended to drop in Germanic languages, where it was mistaken for a suffix. Tulip tree (1705), a North American magnolia, so called from its tulip-shaped flowers.
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sleazy (adj.)

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]
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