Definitions

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

  • n. A soft thin cloth woven from Chinese or Indian raw silk or an imitation thereof.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. A soft unbleached silk, from China or India, from silkworms that feed on oak leaves

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. A fabric of undyed silk from India and China.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. A soft, unbleached washing silk resembling the tasar silk of India, woven in China, chiefly in the province of Shantung, from cocoons of a wild silkworm (Attacus pernyi) which feeds on a scrub-oak. The finer kinds bleached, dyed or figured after importation, are known in the trade as China silks.

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

  • n. a soft thin cloth woven from raw silk (or an imitation)

Etymologies

Chinese (Mandarin) běn zhī, homemade fabric : běn, root, original, one's own + zhī, to weave, spin.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)

Examples

  • They seem always to be papered with buff-and-mustard papers and to have "pongee" sofa-cushions with frills.

    The Reflections of Ambrosine A Novel

  • Miss Drexel, seized by inspiration or desperation, with a quick movement stripped off her short, corduroy tramping-skirt, and, looking very lithe and boyish in slender-cut pongee bloomers, ran along the sand and dropped the skirt for a foothold for the slowly revolving wheels.

    WHOSE BUSINESS IS TO LIVE

  • At one point Miss Drexel "seized by inspiration or desperation, with a quick movement stripped off her short, corduroy tramping-skirt, and, looking very lithe and boyish in slender-cut pongee bloomers," throws the skirt under the wheels to give the machine's wheels purchase.

    “It was the Golden Fleece ready for the shearing.”

  • Fontana of Italy, in a feat never before attempted in pongee, novelty cottons, shantung, or faille, is performing the incredibly difficult REVERSE BOLERO with this pattern.

    Fontana Attempts the Difficult and Dangerous Reverse Bolero! - A Dress A Day

  • Wild silk fabrics—such as pongee or shantung—are both durable and less expensive than pure dye silks.

    HOME COMFORTS

  • The willow, almond and the whole lot of trees, on the upper side, were, it is true, without blossom and leaves; but pongee and damask silks, paper and lustring had been employed, together with rice-paper, to make flowers of, which had been affixed on the branches.

    Hung Lou Meng

  • A man in a soft pongee suit, with cap to match, hailed him.

    The Beautiful and Damned

  • These are two pieces of pongee, which will do for wadded coats and jupes as well.

    Hung Lou Meng

  • The doctor was a thick-set man, dressed in pongee silk coat and trousers of the same material, closely fitting his muscular thighs.

    Resurrection

  • So I wore a simple kimono of black Oshima pongee patterned with red roses and a red and white obi patterned with embroidered maple leaves done in black.

    Geisha, A Life

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  • "Mrs. Oliphant was very glad to see them. She wore a suit made out of pongee, a hat with a green veil, an amethyst necklace, a lapis lazuli necklace, and a silver one with her eyeglasses on it."
    The Saturdays by Elizabeth Enright, pp 165-166 of the 2008 paperback edition

    July 2, 2011