stiff material originally made partly or wholly of horsehair, 1830, from French crinoline "hair cloth" (19c.), from Italian crinolino, from crino "horsehair" (from Latin crinis "hair," from PIE root *sker- (2) "to turn, bend") + lino "flax, thread," from Latin linum (see linen). So called from the warp and woof fibers of the original mixture.
Petticoats made of it were worn by women under the skirt to support or distend it, and the meaning of the word subsequently was extended to the steel or whalebone framework used for making hoop-skirts (1848).
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