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.
[strip of cloth] 1590s, originally in reference to Oriental dress, "strip of silk, fine linen, or gauze wound round the head as a turban," from Arabic shash "muslin cloth." The general meaning "scarf or strip of cloth worn by men about the waist or over the shoulder" for ornament is recorded by 1680s.
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.
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.
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.
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]