[ shuh-neel ]

  1. a velvety cord or yarn of silk or worsted, for embroidery, fringes, etc.

  2. fabric made with a fringed silken thread used as the weft in combination with wool or cotton.

  1. any fabric with a protruding pile, as in certain rayon bedspreads.

  2. a deep-pile, durable, woolen carpeting with chenille weft: the most expensive power-loomed floor covering.

Origin of chenille

1730–40; <French: velvety cord, literally, caterpillar <Latin canīcula, with etymological sense “little dog,” though attested only in senses “shrewish woman, dogfish, Sirius” (see canicular); for parallel use of “cat” in same sense, see caterpillar

Words Nearby chenille Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023

How to use chenille in a sentence

  • Run a narrow velvet through the holes of the third row and affix wider velvet ends, or chenille tassels to each extremity.

  • Her prize was a gay little chenille imp, which she stuck in her hair with great glee.

    Marjorie's Busy Days | Carolyn Wells
  • On the chenille-covered table in the middle of the room stood a vase with artificial flowers.

    The Mountebank | William J. Locke
  • There is this against chenille, that its texture is not sympathetic to the touch, and that there is a stuffy look about it always.

    Art in Needlework | Lewis F. Day
  • The holiday hat is the same, save for a roll of brightly and many tinted chenille.

British Dictionary definitions for chenille


/ (ʃəˈniːl) /

  1. a thick soft tufty silk or worsted velvet cord or yarn used in embroidery and for trimmings, etc

  2. a fabric of such yarn

  1. a rich and hard-wearing carpet of such fabric

Origin of chenille

C18: from French, literally: hairy caterpillar, from Latin canicula, diminutive of canis dog

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