Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • n. Fabric or material formed by weaving, knitting, pressing, or felting natural or synthetic fibers.
  • n. A piece of fabric or material used for a specific purpose, as a tablecloth.
  • n. Nautical Canvas.
  • n. Nautical A sail.
  • n. The characteristic attire of a profession, especially that of the clergy.
  • n. The clergy: a man of the cloth.
  • idiom in cloth With a clothbound binding; as a clothbound book.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. A woven fabric such as used in dressing, decorating, cleaning or other practical use.
  • n. A piece of cloth used for a particular purpose.
  • n. A form of attire that represents a particular profession.
  • n. Priesthood, clergy.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. A fabric made of fibrous material (or sometimes of wire, as in wire cloth); commonly, a woven fabric of cotton, woolen, or linen, adapted to be made into garments; specifically, woolen fabrics, as distinguished from all others.
  • n. The dress; raiment. [Obs.] See Clothes.
  • n. The distinctive dress of any profession, especially of the clergy; hence, the clerical profession.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. Pl. cloths (klôŦhz), in a particular sense clothes (see clothes).
  • n. A fabric or texture of wool or hair, or of cotton, flax, hemp, or other vegetable filaments, formed by weaving or intertexture of threads, and used for garments or other covering, and for various other purposes; specifically, in the trade, a fabric of wool, in contradistinction to one made of other material.
  • n. A piece of cloth used for a particular purpose, generally as a covering, or as the canvas for a painting: as, a table-cloth; an altar-cloth; to spread the cloth (that is, the table-cloth).
  • n. Dress; raiment; clothing; clothes. See clothes.
  • n. The customary garb of a trade or profession; a livery; specifically, the professional dress of a clergyman.
  • n. Hence The clerical office or profession; with the definite article (the cloth), the clergy collectively; clergymen as a class.
  • n. Texture; quality.
  • Made or consisting of cloth, specifically of woolen cloth: as, a cloth coat or cap; cloth coverings.
  • To make into cloth.
  • n. Nautical, a breadth of canvas; one of the breadths of canvas in a square or fore-and-aft sail: a general term in relation to the sails of a ship.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • n. artifact made by weaving or felting or knitting or crocheting natural or synthetic fibers

Etymologies

Middle English, from Old English clāth.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
From Middle English cloth, clath, from Old English clāþ ("cloth, clothes, covering, sail"), from Proto-Germanic *klaiþan (“garment”), from Proto-Indo-European *gleit- (“to cling to, cleave, stick”). Cognate with Scots clath ("cloth"), North Frisian klaid ("dress, garment"), West Frisian kleed ("cloth, article of clothing"), Dutch kleed ("robe, dress"), Low German kleed ("dress, garment"), German Kleid ("dress, garment"), Danish klæde ("cloth, dress"), Swedish kläde ("cloth"), Icelandic klæði ("cloth, dressing"), Old English clīþan ("to adhere, stick"). Compare Albanian ngjit ("to stick, attach, glue"). (Wiktionary)

Examples

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  • "We had no garments in our land,
    But what were spun by th' Goodwife's hand:
    No Drap-De Berry, cloaths of seal;
    No stuffs ingrain'd in cocheneel;
    No Plush, no Tissue, Cramosie;
    No China, Turky, Taffety;
    No proud Pyropus, Paragon,
    Or Chackarally, there was none;
    No Figurata or Water-chamblet;
    No Bishop-satine or Silk-chamblet;
    No cloth of gold; or bever hats
    We car'd no more for, than the cats:
    No windy flowrish'd flying feathers;
    No sweet permusted shambo leathers;
    No hilt or crampet richly hatched:
    A lance, a sword in hand we snatched.

    Lines from "a poem which contains a considerable portion of satire, and seems to have been written towards the middle of the seventeenth century." --Cited in Dr. Jamieson's Scottish Dictionary and Supplement, 1841.

    May 16, 2011