"thin stuff made of silk finely crinkled," 1630s, Englished spelling of crepe (q.v.), which was itself borrowed into English late 18c., at first in a specialized, commercial sense. Black crape, from its somber and rough, unglossed appearance, was considered especially appropriate for mourning dress. Hence U.S. slang crape-hanger "pessimistic person, killjoy" (1909) from the notion of crape hung up as a sign of mourning.
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