Definitions

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

  • n. A band of elaborate embroidery decorating the front of certain ecclesiastical vestments.
  • n. Elaborate embroidery, especially when made of gold.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. A band of rich embroidery, wholly or in part of gold, affixed to vestments, especially those of ecclesiastics.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. A kind of embroidery in gold. See orphrey-work.
  • n. An ornamental band or border on certain ecclesiastical vestments, especially chasubles and copes, usually done in orphrey-work. The apparel of the amice, if done in orphrey-work, is sometimes called the orphrey of the amice. See amice, 2, chasuble, and cope, 2.

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

  • n. a richly embroidered edging on an ecclesiastical vestment

Etymologies

Middle English orfrey, alteration of orfreis, from Old French, from Medieval Latin aurifrigium : Latin aurum, gold + Latin Phrygius, Phrygian.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
From Anglo-Norman orfrais, orfreis et al., Middle French orfrais, from Late Latin aurifrasium, aurifrisium, variant of aurifrigium, from Latin aurum Phrygium ("gold embroidery"), literally “Phrygian gold”. (Wiktionary)

Examples

  • Woven silk velvet ground, with orphrey of linen embroidered with silver, silver-gilt and silks metal threads couched; silks in split stitch; glass

    Archive 2009-06-01

  • Length 148.5 cm (orphrey on back) Width 41.3 cm (width of ophrey on back at widest point)

    Archive 2009-06-01

  • Timotheos Prologizes: Here's the orphrey material skip to main

    Here's the orphrey material

  • These shields are to go on the red velvet orphrey of the red cope that I have just made the last piece of my red solemn set that I made for my ordination to the diaconate.

    Archive 2006-07-01

  • The chasuble upon which this orphrey is placed is made of a lovely brocaded silk decorated with falcons, peahens, and roses.

    Embroidery and Tapestry Weaving

  • Sometimes most complicated patterns are laid down in string and covered with gold thread in this way, _e. g._: -- fig. 138 shows an interlacing pattern taken from the border of an orphrey upon a

    Embroidery and Tapestry Weaving

  • On the orphrey are emblazoned the arms of Warwick, Castile and Leon, Ferrars, Geneville Everard, the badge of the Knights

    Chats on Old Lace and Needlework

  • Judging from these, and the embroidered orphrey which the authorities bought from the Hockon Collection for £119 1s.

    Chats on Old Lace and Needlework

  • But with the lapse of time the hood has into a mere ornamental appendage, and it is quite commonly represented by a sort of shield of embroidery, artificially stiffened and sometimes adorned with a fringe, the whole being fastened by buttons or by some other device to the back of the below the broad orphrey which usually forms an upper border to the whole.

    The Catholic Encyclopedia, Volume 4: Clandestinity-Diocesan Chancery

  • In medieval chasubles these orphrey crosses often assume a Y form, and the crosses themselves seem really to have originated less from any symbolical purpose than from sartorial reasons connected with the cut and adjustment.

    The Catholic Encyclopedia, Volume 3: Brownson-Clairvaux

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