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jean

[ jeen or, for 1, British formerly jeyn ]
/ dʒin or, for 1, British formerly dʒeɪn /
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noun

Sometimes jeans . a sturdy twilled fabric, usually of cotton.
jeans, (used with a plural verb)
  1. blue jeans.
  2. pants of various fabrics, styled or constructed like blue jeans.Compare Levi's.

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Origin of jean

1485–95; short for jean fustian, earlier Gene(s)fustianGenoese or Genoa fustian
jeaned, adjective
genes, jeans

Definition for jean (2 of 2)

Jean
[ French zhahn for 1, 2; jeen for 3 ]
/ French ʒɑ̃ for 1, 2; dʒin for 3 /

noun

1921–2019, Grand Duke of Luxembourg 1964–2000.
a male given name, form of John.
a female given name.
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2021

VOCAB BUILDER

What does jean mean?

The word jean refers to the kind of material used to make jeans, as in blue jeans—a type of pants.

Jeans are traditionally made from denim, a kind of cotton fabric. Today, jeans are made from a variety of fabrics and fabric blends, but they’re still called jeans if they resemble denim blue jeans. In this way, the word jean isn’t commonly used as a name of a kind of material until after it’s been made into jeans.

Jean is most commonly used as a modifier to describe garments that are made of denim or the kind of fabric that blue jeans are made of, as in jean shorts, jean jacket (also commonly called a denim jacket), and jean shirt.

Example: I used to wear a jean jacket with a bunch of patches on it.

Where does jean come from?

The first records of the word jean in reference to a kind of fabric come from around the 1500s. The first pants called jeans were produced by tailor Jacob Davis and Levi Strauss of Levi Strauss & Co. Levi’s, as they came to be called, were originally created for and used by miners.

The word jean is derived from the term jean fustian, in which fustian refers to a kind of fabric and jean comes from Gene, in reference to Genoa, Italy—where such fabric was known for being manufactured.

Interestingly, the origin of the word denim is also based on a place name. It comes from the French phrase (serge) de Nîmes, in which serge refers to a kind of fabric and Nîmes refers to the city in France once known for its manufacture.

Wearing “double denim”—jeans with a jean shirt or jean jacket—is sometimes known as a Canadian tuxedo.

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How is jean used in real life?

Jean is most commonly used in terms like jean jacket, jean shorts, and jean shirt.

 

Try using jean!

True or False? 

You can totally pull off wearing jeans with a jean jacket.

British Dictionary definitions for jean (1 of 2)

jean
/ (dʒiːn) /

noun

a tough twill-weave cotton fabric used for hard-wearing trousers, overalls, etcSee also jeans
C16: short for jean fustian, from Gene Genoa

British Dictionary definitions for jean (2 of 2)

Jean
/ (French ʒɑ̃) /

noun

born 1921, full name Jean Benoît Guillaume Robert Antoine Louis Marie Adolphe Marc d'Aviano, grand duke of Luxembourg (1964–2000)
Michaelle. born 1957, in Haiti. Canadian stateswoman and broadcaster; governor-general from 2005
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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