(used with a plural verb) clothing, especially trousers, of corded fabric; corduroys.

Origin of cords

First recorded in 1770–80; plural of cord




a string or thin rope made of several strands braided, twisted, or woven together.
Electricity. a small, flexible, insulated cable.
a ribbed fabric, especially corduroy.
a cordlike rib on the surface of cloth.
any influence that binds or restrains: cord of marriage.
Anatomy. a cordlike structure: the spinal cord; umbilical cord.
a unit of volume used chiefly for fuel wood, now generally equal to 128 cu. ft. (3.6 cu. m), usually specified as 8 feet long, 4 feet wide, and 4 feet high (2.4 m × 1.2 m × 1.2 meters). Abbreviation: cd, cd.
a hangman's rope.

verb (used with object)

to bind or fasten with a cord or cords.
to pile or stack up (wood) in cords.
to furnish with a cord.

Origin of cord

1250–1300; Middle English coord(e) < Anglo-French, Old French corde < Latin chorda < Greek chordḗ gut; confused in part of its history with chord1
Related formscord·er, nouncord·like, adjective
Can be confusedchord cord cored. Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Related Words for cords

twine, fiber, string, tendon, connection, link, tie, line, bond, cordage

Examples from the Web for cords

Contemporary Examples of cords

  • Others were strangled by the cords of electronic appliances.

    The Daily Beast logo
    Men Who Hate Women

    Barbie Latza Nadeau

    February 17, 2013

  • They were tied to each other with cords, even when they were sleeping.

    The Daily Beast logo
    A Shocking Letter From the Congo

    Tina Brown, Annie Rashidi-Mulumba

    April 14, 2010

  • There was no second string for each person, the guy who put on the lights, or the one that laid out the cords.

    The Daily Beast logo
    Elvis's Doctor Speaks

    Gerald Posner

    August 14, 2009

Historical Examples of cords

  • After the captain left him, he struggled hard to unloose the cords which bound him.

    Brave and Bold

    Horatio Alger

  • Cut these cords just as quickly as you can, and take us to the general.

  • The cords hurt his hands somewhat, and his legs were cramped.

  • He felt the cords about his wrists giving somewhat and he redoubled his efforts.

  • Suspend this affair inside your tent by means of cords or tapes.

    The Forest

    Stewart Edward White

British Dictionary definitions for cords


pl n

trousers, esp jeans, made of corduroy



string or thin rope made of several twisted strands
a length of woven or twisted strands of silk, etc, sewn on clothing or used as a belt
a ribbed fabric, esp corduroy
any influence that binds or restrains
US and Canadian a flexible insulated electric cable, used esp to connect appliances to mainsAlso called (in Britain and certain other countries): flex
anatomy any part resembling a string or ropethe spinal cord
a unit of volume for measuring cut wood, equal to 128 cubic feet

verb (tr)

to bind or furnish with a cord or cords
to stack (wood) in cords
Derived Formscorder, nouncordlike, adjective

Word Origin for cord

C13: from Old French corde, from Latin chorda cord, from Greek khordē; see chord 1
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 cords



c.1300, from Old French corde "rope, string, twist, cord," from Latin chorda "string of a musical instrument, cat-gut," from Greek khorde "string, catgut, chord, cord," from PIE root *ghere- "intestine" (see yarn). As a measure of wood (eight feet long, four feet high and wide) first recorded 1610s, so called because it was measured with a cord of rope.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

cords in Medicine



A long ropelike bodily structure, such as a nerve or tendon.
The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.