"soft fabric, cloth having a softer and longer nap than that of velvet," 1590s, from French pluche "shag, plush," contraction of peluche "hairy fabric," from Old French peluchier "to pull, to tug, to pluck" (the final process in weaving plush), from Vulgar Latin *piluccare "remove hair" (see pluck (v.)). Related: Plushy; plushness.
1620s, "made or consisting of plush," from plush (n.). The meaning "swanky, luxurious" is by 1927. Plushy in this sense is recorded from 1923; plushie (n.) "soft toy" is by 2003. Related: Plushly; plushness.