[oil-klawth, -kloth]

noun, plural oil·cloths [oil-klawth z, -kloth z, -klawths, -kloths] /ˈɔɪlˌklɔðz, -ˌklɒðz, -ˌklɔθs, -ˌklɒθs/ for 2.

a cotton fabric made waterproof by being treated with oil and pigment, for use as tablecloths, shelf coverings, and the like.
a piece of this fabric.

Origin of oilcloth

First recorded in 1690–1700; oil + cloth
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Related Words for oilcloth

coat, canvas, cover, sailcloth

Examples from the Web for oilcloth

Historical Examples of oilcloth

  • Then, when the oilcloth cover had been wiped, the lesson began on a corner of the table.

  • And he gazed at the oilcloth table cover as if he had been listening.

    Therese Raquin

    Emile Zola

  • Then a man ran out of the draper's with a roll of oilcloth, and off they went again.

    Howards End

    E. M. Forster

  • You might as well try to dry yourself on the glossy side of a piece of oilcloth.

    Common Science

    Carleton W. Washburne

  • Robert took from next the skin a package wrapped in oilcloth.

    The Pirate of Panama

    William MacLeod Raine

British Dictionary definitions for oilcloth



waterproof material made by treating one side of a cotton fabric with a drying oil, or a synthetic resin
another name for linoleum
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 oilcloth

1690s, "cotton or a similar fabric waterproofed with oil," from oil (n.) + cloth. In reference to an oil-treated canvas used as a cheap floor covering, 1796.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper