[klawth, kloth]
noun, plural cloths [klawth z, kloth z, klawths, kloths] /klɔðz, klɒðz, klɔθs, klɒθs/.
  1. a fabric formed by weaving, felting, etc., from wool, hair, silk, flax, cotton, or other fiber, used for garments, upholstery, and many other items.
  2. a piece of such a fabric for a particular purpose: an altar cloth.
  3. the particular attire of any profession, especially that of the clergy.Compare man of the cloth.
  4. the cloth, the clergy: men of the cloth.
  5. Nautical.
    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.
  6. Obsolete. a garment; clothing.
  1. of or made of cloth: She wore a cloth coat trimmed with fur.
  2. clothbound.

Origin of cloth

before 900; Middle English cloth, clath cloth, garment, Old English clāth; cognate with Dutch kleed, German Kleid
Related formscloth·like, adjectiveun·der·cloth, noun
Can be confusedcloth clothe clothes Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Related Words for cloths

material, goods, cotton, stuff, bolt, weave, tissue, twill, calico, textiles

Examples from the Web for cloths

Contemporary Examples of cloths

  • We set to our task with a deliberate gentleness, dabbing with cloths, cotton, swabs.

    The Daily Beast logo
    Inside a Home Funeral

    Melissa Roberts Weidman

    February 5, 2013

  • The women had on long dresses made of orange, black, and green African Kente cloths with matching headdresses.

    The Daily Beast logo
    Red, White, and Muslim

    Asma Gull Hasan

    February 26, 2009

Historical Examples of cloths

British Dictionary definitions for cloths


noun plural cloths (klɒθs, klɒðz)
    1. a fabric formed by weaving, felting or knitting wool, cotton, etc
    2. (as modifier)a cloth bag
  1. a piece of such fabric used for a particular purpose, as for a dishcloth
  2. the cloth
    1. the clothes worn by a clergyman
    2. the clergy
  3. obsolete clothing
  4. nautical any of the panels of a sail
  5. mainly British a piece of coloured fabric, used on the stage as scenery
  6. Western African a garment in a traditional non-European style

Word Origin for cloth

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

Word Origin and History for cloths



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

Idioms and Phrases with cloths


see out of whole cloth; sackcloth and ashes.

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