a finely corded fabric of cotton, rayon, silk, or wool, for dresses, draperies, etc.

Origin of poplin

1700–10; < French popeline, earlier papeline < Italian papalina, feminine of papalino papal; so called from being made at the papal city of Avignon. See papal, -ine1
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for poplin

Historical Examples of poplin

  • That is the prettiest shade of green I ever saw; and such a poplin!

    Marion Berkley

    Elizabeth B. Comins

  • She put her hand on Lucy Ann's shoulder, to give her a little shake; but, feeling mother's poplin, she forbore.

    Tiverton Tales

    Alice Brown

  • Perhaps it was the royalty of the poplin that enwrapped her; but Lucy Ann looked very capable of holding her own.

    Tiverton Tales

    Alice Brown

  • The walls were hung with the finest Irish poplin and decorated by the most noted artists of the time.

    One Irish Summer

    William Eleroy Curtis

  • My husband bought me a poplin dress at the Exposition—Oh, mamma, I have quite decided about my cloak.

    Rene Mauperin

    Edmond de Goncourt and Jules de Goncourt

British Dictionary definitions for poplin



  1. a strong fabric, usually of cotton, in plain weave with fine ribbing, used for dresses, children's wear, etc
  2. (as modifier)a poplin shirt

Word Origin for poplin

C18: from French papeline, perhaps from Poperinge, a centre of textile manufacture in Flanders
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 poplin

type of corded fabric, 1710, from French papeline "cloth of fine silk and worsted" (1660s), probably from Provençal papalino, fem. of papalin "of or belonging to the pope," from Medieval Latin papalis "papal" (see papal). The reference is to Avignon, papal residence during the schism 1309-1408 (and regarded as a papal town until 1791), which also was a center of silk manufacture. Influenced in English by Poperinghe, town in Flanders where the fabric was made (but from 18c. the primary source was Ireland).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper