• synonyms


  1. a firm, durable, yellow or buff fabric, formerly made from a natural-colored Chinese cotton.
  2. a twilled material made from other cotton and dyed in imitation of this fabric.
  3. nankeens, garments made of this material.
  4. a yellow or buff color.
  5. Also called Nankeen porcelain, Nanking china, Nanking ware. a type of Chinese porcelain having blue ornament on a white ground.
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Also nan·kin [nan-kin] /ˈnæn kɪn/.

Origin of nankeen

1745–55; after Nankin Nanking, where first made
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for nankeen

Historical Examples

  • We have a picture of him at the age of five, in a nankeen frock and a frill.

    Olive in Italy

    Moray Dalton

  • The Nankeen coloured and the black are the greatest favourites.

    The Book of Sports:

    William Martin

  • Mr. Brandon wore a nankeen suit, and had a green veil in readiness.

  • Ribbons are worn either clouded or striped; the latter are nankeen.

  • In point of colour the black and nankeen varieties are the best.

British Dictionary definitions for nankeen


nankin (ˈnænkɪn)

  1. a hard-wearing buff-coloured cotton fabric
    1. a pale greyish-yellow colour
    2. (as adjective)a nankeen carpet
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Word Origin

C18: named after Nanking, China, where it originated
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 nankeen


kind of cotton cloth, 1755, from Nanking, China, where it originally was made.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper