Definitions

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

  • n. A densely textured woolen cloth with a plain or twill weave and a lustrous finish.
  • n. A closely woven silk, cotton, or synthetic fabric with a narrow crosswise rib.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. A fine smooth-faced woolen cloth for men’s garments, usually of double width (i.e., a yard and a half); -- so called in distinction from woolens three quarters of a yard wide.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. A fine smooth-faced woolen cloth for men's garments, usually of double width (i.e., a yard and a half); -- so called in distinction from woolens three quarters of a yard wide.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. A fine woolen cloth, commonly black, with a finished surface, mostly used in making men's garments: so called from its breadth, which is usually 60 inches.

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

  • n. a closely woven silk or synthetic fabric with a narrow crosswise rib
  • n. a densely textured woolen fabric with a lustrous finish

Etymologies

Middle English brode clothe, cloth woven in strips of double width : brode, broad; see broad + clothe, cloth; see cloth.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)

Examples

  • "Yes, yes," but the judge was unkind enough to refuse, and thereby deprived us of seeing a fellow in broadcloth gored because he thought he could kill a toro.

    Six Months in Mexico

  • As they trample on nationalities to reproduce London and Londoners in Europe and Asia, so they fear the hostility of ideas, of poetry, of religion, -- ghosts which they cannot lay; -- and, having attempted to domesticate and dress the Blessed Soul itself in English broadcloth and gaiters, they are tormented with fear that herein lurks a force that will sweep their system away.

    English Traits (1856)

  • Indian woman, in beaded leggings, moccasins, "short skirt," and a blue "broadcloth" folded about her shoulders.

    The Moccasin Maker

  • She folded her "broadcloth" about her, filled her small carved pipe and sat for many hours smoking silently, silently, silently.

    The Moccasin Maker

  • And presently Lydia found herself shaking hands with the elder chief, speaker of the council, who spoke English rather well, and with a little dark woman folded within a "broadcloth" and wearing the leggings, moccasins and short dress of her people.

    The Moccasin Maker

  • The first great shadow that fell on this united little circle was when George Mansion's mother quietly folded her "broadcloth" about her shoulders for the last time, when the little old tobacco pipe lay unfilled and unlighted, when the finely-beaded moccasins were empty of the dear feet that had wandered so gently, so silently into the Happy Hunting Grounds.

    The Moccasin Maker

  • The men were chiefly business men, with a good deal of the obnoxious "broadcloth" about them, and with well - brushed hats beneath their seats.

    Jan of the Windmill

  • Presently he set apart five damsels, amongst whom was the King s daughter, and sent them to thy father, King Omar bin al-Nu'uman, together with other gifts, such as broadcloth [FN#208] and woollen stuffs and Grecian silks.

    Arabian nights. English

  • "broadcloth," undertook to drive him from Boston, putting his life in peril, it was our women who made their own persons a bulwark of protection around him.

    History of Woman Suffrage, Volume I

  • a philanthropist, whom a true and noble woman, also a philanthropist, should have delighted to honor; whose disinterested and resolute efforts, for the redemption of poor humanity, all independent and faithful minds should sustain, since the "broadcloth" vulgar will be sure to assail them; a philosopher, worthy of the palmy times of ancient Greece;

    Memoirs of Margaret Fuller Ossoli, Volume I

Comments

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  • Ranchers from remoter parts of the country appeared [...] elderly men, for the most part, bearded, slow of speech, deliberate, dressed in broadcloth.

    - Frank Norris, The Octopus, ch. 5

    August 15, 2008