type of rich silk cloth, c. 1300, from Old French samit, from Medieval Latin samitum, examitum, from Medieval Greek hexamiton (source of Old Church Slavonic oksamitu, Russian aksamit "velvet"), noun use of neuter of Greek adjective hexamitos "six-threaded," from hex "six" (see six) + mitos "warp thread" (see mitosis). The reason it was called this is variously explained. Obsolete c. 1600; revived by Tennyson. German Sammet "velvet" is from French.
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