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90s Slang You Should Know


[vel-vit] /ˈvɛl vɪt/
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.
something likened to the fabric velvet, as in softness or texture:
the velvet of her touch; the velvet of the lawn.
the soft, deciduous covering of a growing antler.
Informal. a very pleasant, luxurious, desirable situation.
  1. money gained through gambling; winnings.
  2. clear gain or profit, especially when more than anticipated.
Also, velveted. made of velvet or covered with velvet.
Also, velvetlike. 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 Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2017.
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Examples from the Web for velvet
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • Gray velvet is better, when the appearance of the room is taken into consideration, as it must be.

    Visual Illusions Matthew Luckiesh
  • When Lightfoot's antlers are covered with this, they are said to be in the velvet state.

  • And she took hold of the two sides of his velvet jacket, and hid her face between them.

    Mopsa the Fairy Jean Ingelow
  • Matte Enamel, medium weight; Enameled, medium weight; velvet, medium weight.

  • In velvet, every alternate stitch should be cut and drawn out on the right side with the pile of the goods.

    Textiles and Clothing Kate Heintz Watson
British Dictionary definitions for velvet


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

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
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Slang definitions & phrases for velvet



Profit, esp an easy and unexpected profit; gambler's winnings; money in general: There are substantial money returns, ''velvet,'' for those who secure places (1901+)

Related Terms

beggar's velvet, blue velvet, on velvet

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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Idioms and Phrases with velvet


see under iron hand
The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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