[ kal-i-koh ]
/ ˈkæl ɪˌkoʊ /

noun, plural cal·i·coes, cal·i·cos.

a plain-woven cotton cloth printed with a figured pattern, usually on one side.
British. plain white cotton cloth.
an animal having a spotted or particolored coat.
Obsolete. a figured cotton cloth from India.


made of calico.
resembling printed calico; spotted or mottled.

Nearby words

  1. calicectasis,
  2. calicectomy,
  3. calices,
  4. caliche,
  5. calicle,
  6. calico bass,
  7. calico bug,
  8. calico bush,
  9. calico cat,
  10. calico clam

Origin of calico

1495–1505; short for Calico cloth, variant of Calicut cloth, named after city in India which orig. exported it Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for calico

British Dictionary definitions for calico


/ (ˈkælɪˌkəʊ) /

noun plural -coes or -cos

a white or unbleached cotton fabric with no printed design
mainly US a coarse printed cotton fabric
(modifier) made of calico

Word Origin for calico

C16: based on Calicut, town in India

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 calico



1530s, kalyko, corruption of Calicut (modern Kozhikode), seaport on Malabar coast of India, where Europeans first obtained it. In 16c. it was second only to Goa among Indian commercial ports for European trade. Extended to animal colorings suggestive of printed calicos in 1807, originally of horses.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper