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[klawth, kloth] /klɔθ, klɒθ/
noun, plural cloths
[klawth z, kloth z, klawths, kloths] /klɔðz, klɒðz, klɔθs, klɒθs/ (Show IPA)
a fabric formed by weaving, felting, etc., from wool, hair, silk, flax, cotton, or other fiber, used for garments, upholstery, and many other items.
a piece of such a fabric for a particular purpose:
an altar cloth.
the particular attire of any profession, especially that of the clergy.
the cloth, the clergy:
men of the cloth.
  1. one of the lengths of canvas or duck of standard width sewn side by side to form a sail, awning, or tarpaulin.
  2. any of various pieces of canvas or duck for reinforcing certain areas of a sail.
  3. a number of sails taken as a whole.
Obsolete. a garment; clothing.
of or made of cloth:
She wore a cloth coat trimmed with fur.
Origin of cloth
before 900; Middle English cloth, clath cloth, garment, Old English clāth; cognate with Dutch kleed, German Kleid
Related forms
clothlike, adjective
undercloth, noun
Can be confused
cloth, clothe, clothes. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for cloth
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • The table was covered with a cloth as white and spotless as good linen can well be.

  • Here's the cloth an' some leads; weigh out a hundred and twelve too.

    Thoroughbreds W. A. Fraser
  • The wood and cloth will be the two largest items, and these should not cost more than $10.

    Flying Machines W.J. Jackman and Thos. H. Russell
  • The framework is to be covered with cloth in the same manner as the planes.

    Flying Machines W.J. Jackman and Thos. H. Russell
  • The piece of cloth picked up in Greenwich was in his pocket.

    The Secret Agent Joseph Conrad
British Dictionary definitions for cloth


noun (pl) cloths (klɒθs; klɒðz)
  1. a fabric formed by weaving, felting or knitting wool, cotton, etc
  2. (as modifier): a cloth bag
a piece of such fabric used for a particular purpose, as for a dishcloth
the cloth
  1. the clothes worn by a clergyman
  2. the clergy
(obsolete) clothing
(nautical) any of the panels of a sail
(mainly Brit) a piece of coloured fabric, used on the stage as scenery
(W African) a garment in a traditional non-European style
Word Origin
Old English clāth; related to Old Frisian klēth, Middle High German kleit cloth, clothing
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 cloth

Old English claþ "a cloth, sail, cloth covering, woven or felted material to wrap around one," hence, also, "garment," from Proto-Germanic *kalithaz (cf. Old Frisian klath "cloth," Middle Dutch cleet, Dutch kleed "garment, dress," Middle High German kleit, German Kleid "garment"), of obscure origin. As an adjective from 1590s. The cloth "the clerical profession" is from 17c. in reference to characteristic dress.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Idioms and Phrases with cloth
The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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