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velvet

[vel-vit]
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noun
  1. a fabric of silk, nylon, acetate, rayon, etc., sometimes having a cotton backing, with a thick, soft pile formed of loops of the warp thread either cut at the outer end or left uncut.
  2. something likened to the fabric velvet, as in softness or texture: the velvet of her touch; the velvet of the lawn.
  3. the soft, deciduous covering of a growing antler.
  4. Informal. a very pleasant, luxurious, desirable situation.
  5. Informal.
    1. money gained through gambling; winnings.
    2. clear gain or profit, especially when more than anticipated.
adjective
  1. Also vel·vet·ed. made of velvet or covered with velvet.
  2. Also vel·vet·like. resembling or suggesting velvet; smooth; soft; velvety: a velvet night; a cat's velvet fur.

Origin of velvet

1275–1325; Middle English velvet, veluet, veluwet < Old French veluotte, equivalent to velu (< Medieval Latin vil(l)ūtus; Latin vill(us) shaggy nap (cf. villus) + Late Latin -ūtus for Latin -ātus -ate1) + -otte noun suffix
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for velvet

Contemporary Examples

Historical Examples

  • See to the broadcloth and velvet that the rogues bear upon their backs!

    The White Company

    Arthur Conan Doyle

  • They were dark, luminous and velvet soft as they watched my struggle.

  • There were other and still other banners, in velvet or in satin, balanced at the end of gilded batons.

    The Dream

    Emile Zola

  • She had no gloves, and a bit of the velvet binding of her skirt was loose.

  • Around its roots is velvet turf, and there are wild violet beds.

    Bride of the Mistletoe

    James Lane Allen


British Dictionary definitions for velvet

velvet

noun
    1. a fabric of silk, cotton, nylon, etc, with a thick close soft usually lustrous pile
    2. (as modifier)velvet curtains
  1. anything with a smooth soft surface
    1. smoothness; softness
    2. (as modifier)velvet skin; a velvet night
  2. the furry covering of the newly formed antlers of a deer
  3. slang, mainly US
    1. gambling or speculative winnings
    2. a gain, esp when unexpectedly high
  4. velvet glove gentleness or caution, often concealing strength or determination (esp in the phrase an iron fist or hand in a velvet glove)
Derived Formsvelvet-like, adjectivevelvety, adjective

Word Origin

C14: veluet, from Old French veluotte, from velu hairy, from Vulgar Latin villutus (unattested), from Latin villus shaggy hair
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

Word Origin and History for velvet

n.

early 14c., probably from Old Provençal veluet, from Vulgar Latin *villutittus, diminutive of Vulgar Latin villutus "velvet," literally "shaggy cloth," from Latin villus "shaggy hair, nap of cloth, tuft of hair," probably a dialectal variant of vellus "fleece."

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

Idioms and Phrases with velvet

velvet

see under iron hand.

The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.