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[kahrd] /kɑrd/
noun, Also called carding machine.
a machine for combing and paralleling fibers of cotton, flax, wool, etc., prior to spinning to remove short, undesirable fibers and produce a sliver.
a similar implement for raising the nap on cloth.
verb (used with object)
to dress (wool or the like) with a card.
card out, Printing. to add extra space between lines of text, so as to fill out a page or column or give the text a better appearance.
Origin of card2
1325-75; Middle English carde < Middle French: literally, teasel head < Late Latin cardus thistle, variant of Latin carduus
Related forms
carder, noun Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2017.
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Examples from the Web for carder
Historical Examples
  • carder looked down at the white horror in her face and in her shining eyes.

    In Apple-Blossom Time Clara Louise Burnham
  • At close quarters one observed a cast in Mr. carder's right eye.

    In Apple-Blossom Time Clara Louise Burnham
  • An interesting case of one of the carder bees (Bombus agrorum) is recorded by F. Smith.

    Wild Bees, Wasps and Ants Edward Saunders
  • Mrs. carder smiled and shook her head, revealing her own need of dentistry.

    In Apple-Blossom Time Clara Louise Burnham
  • If carder should suddenly revert to that day and cross-question him, he must have his denials ready.

    In Apple-Blossom Time Clara Louise Burnham
  • "I think I'm not feeling very strong, Mr. carder," she said listlessly.

    In Apple-Blossom Time Clara Louise Burnham
  • The carder came next and the spinster spun it into long threads on her distaff.

    Britain in the Middle Ages Florence L. Bowman
  • "Hello, there," called the voice she loathed, and carder came striding after her.

    In Apple-Blossom Time Clara Louise Burnham
  • Is it true an areoplane come down in Mr. carder's field yisterday?

    In Apple-Blossom Time Clara Louise Burnham
  • One of these bees is called the carder, and you may sometimes find its nest in a hollow in a bank.

British Dictionary definitions for carder


a piece of stiff paper or thin cardboard, usually rectangular, with varied uses, as for filing information in an index, bearing a written notice for display, entering scores in a game, etc
such a card used for identification, reference, proof of membership, etc: library card, identity card, visiting card
such a card used for sending greetings, messages, or invitations, often bearing an illustration, printed greetings, etc: Christmas card, birthday card
one of a set of small pieces of cardboard, variously marked with significant figures, symbols, etc, used for playing games or for fortune-telling
  1. short for playing card
  2. (as modifier): a card game
  3. (in combination): cardsharp
(informal) a witty, entertaining, or eccentric person
(horse racing) Also called race card. a daily programme of all the races at a meeting, listing the runners, riders, weights to be carried, distances to be run, and conditions of each race
a thing or action used in order to gain an advantage, esp one that is concealed and kept in reserve until needed (esp in the phrase a card up one's sleeve)
short for printed circuit card See printed circuit board
See also cards
Word Origin
C15: from Old French carte, from Latin charta leaf of papyrus, from Greek khartēs, probably of Egyptian origin


(transitive) to comb out and clean fibres of wool or cotton before spinning
(formerly) a machine or comblike tool for carding fabrics or for raising the nap on cloth
Derived Forms
carding, noun
carder, noun
Word Origin
C15: from Old French carde card, teasel, from Latin carduus thistle
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for carder



c.1400, "playing card," from Middle French carte (14c.), from Latin charta "leaf of paper, tablet," from Greek khartes "layer of papyrus," probably from Egyptian. Form influenced after 14c. by Italian carta (see chart (n.)).

Sense of "playing cards" also is oldest in French. Sense in English extended by 1590s to similar small, flat, stiff bits of paper. Meaning "printed ornamental greetings for special occasions" is from 1869. Application to clever or original persons (1836, originally with an adjective, e.g. smart card) is from the playing-card sense, via expressions such as sure card "an expedient certain to attain an object" (c.1560).

Card table is from 1713. Card-sharper is 1859. House of cards in the figurative sense is from 1640s, first attested in Milton. To have a card up (one's) sleeve is 1898; to play the _______ card is from 1886, originally the Orange card, meaning "appeal to Northern Irish Protestant sentiment (for political advantage)."

"machine for combing," late 14c. (mid-14c. in surname Cardmaker), from Old French carde "card, teasel," from Old Provençal cardo or some other Romanic source (cf. Spanish and Italian carda "thistle, tease, card," back-formation from cardar "to card" (see card (v.1)). The English word probably also comes via Anglo-Latin cardo, from Medieval Latin carda "a teasel," from Latin carduus.


"to comb wool," late 14c., from card (n.2) or else from Old French carder, from Old Provençal cardar "to card," from Vulgar Latin *caritare, from Latin carrere "to clean or comb with a card," perhaps from PIE root *kars- "to scrape" (see harsh). Related: Carded; carding.

1540s, "to play cards" (now obsolete), from card (n.1). From 1925 as "to write (something) on a card for filing." Meaning "require (someone) to show ID" is from 1970s. Related: Carded; carding.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Slang definitions & phrases for carder



  1. A remarkable person, esp an eccentric or amusing one (1830s+)
  2. A portion of a narcotic; deck (1920s+ Narcotics)
  3. A schedule; program of events: six fights on the card (1930s+ Sports)


To require someone to show identification, esp at a bar or liquor store: So far my only success was not getting carded at the Wheaton Liquor Store (1970s+)

Related Terms

face card, get one's card punched, in the cards, stack the deck, wild card

The Dictionary of American Slang, Fourth Edition by Barbara Ann Kipfer, PhD. and Robert L. Chapman, Ph.D.
Copyright (C) 2007 by HarperCollins Publishers.
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Related Abbreviations for carder


player on St. Louis Cardinals baseball team
The American Heritage® Abbreviations Dictionary, Third Edition
Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Company.
Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.
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Idioms and Phrases with carder
The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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