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."