from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition.

  • noun A rich heavy silk fabric with a corded effect.
  • noun A hanging or garment made of this fabric.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • noun A smooth, strong, rich silk, originally manufactured at Padua, used for garments of both women and men in the eighteenth century; also, a garment made of this material.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English.

  • noun A rich and heavy silk stuff.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.

  • noun A rich and heavy silk stuff.


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

[Alteration (influenced by Padua) of French pou-de-soie, from Old French pout-de-soie : pout, of uncertain meaning + de, of (from Latin ; see de–) + soie, silk (from Vulgar Latin *sēta, from Late Latin saeta, raw silk, from Latin, bristle).]

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

From Padua in Italy + French soie silk; or compare French pou-de-soie.


  • These chintzes seem to have been the intermediate wear between homespun of either flax or wool and the creamy satins or the thick "paduasoy," the more flexible "lutestring" silks, worn by great ladies of the period, and the wrought India muslins for less conventional occasions.

    The Development of Embroidery in America

  • Her morning gown was a pale primrose-coloured paduasoy: the cuffs and robins curiously embroidered by the fingers of this ever-charming Arachne, in a running pattern of violets and their leaves, the light in the flowers silver, gold in the leaves.

    Clarissa Harlowe

  • Betsy Davy mourned young Walker with all her heart in spite of dressing in sprigged paduasoy.

    The Common Reader, Second Series

  • How well so ever I fancied my lectures against pride had conquered the vanity of my daughters; yet I still found them secretly attached to all their former finery: they still loved laces, ribbands, bugles and catgut; my wife herself retained a passion for her crimson paduasoy, because I formerly happened to say it became her.

    The Vicar of Wakefield

  • Thus I stared at balmacaans and surtouts, dolmans and jerkins of paduasoy, matelasse, and a hundred other costly fabrics without ever going into the places that displayed them, or even stopping to examine them.

    The Shadow of the Torturer

  • Olivia had a bodice of paduasoy that came low upon her shoulders and showed a spray of jasmine in the cleft of her rounded breasts, which heaved with what Count Victor could not but perceive was some emotion.

    Doom Castle

  • Finally, when the sergeant was ordered to keep me at his peril till such time as I could be lodged in Carlisle jail, Brocton greedily tossed off a bumper of wine and laughed aloud at some vulgar sally from a lady in a green paduasoy.

    The Yeoman Adventurer

  • She must have been of some consideration, for she was dressed in paduasoy and lace with hanging sleeves, and the old carved frame showed how the picture had been prized by its former owners.

    The Atlantic Monthly, Volume 04, No. 25, November, 1859

  • The women wore full skirts of say, paduasoy or silk of varied colors, long, pointed stomachers, -- often with bright tone, -- full, sometimes puffed or slashed sleeves, and lace collars or "whisks" resting upon the shoulders.

    The Women Who Came in the Mayflower

  • The pageant of the Middle Ages, when hose were hose and covered the whole leg, and jagged sleeves hung down beside them; Elizabeth's ladies with their rigid busks and farthingales; Georgian beauties in flowered paduasoy; the high breasts and flowing draperies of the Regency; and, best of all, the "little milliner," without whose aid, it seems, no scion of the Victorian aristocracy could sow his first wild oats.

    Try Anything Twice


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  • "How explain to him that she, who had been lapped like a lily in folds of paduasoy, had hacked heads off, and lain with loose women among treasure sacks in the holds of pirate ships on summer nights when the tulips were abloom and the bees buzzing off Wapping Old Stairs?"

    - Orlando, Virginia Woolf

    February 7, 2008

  • "'He pranced about, keeping a stable of race-horses and entertaining like a lord-lieutenant and covering his wife with diamonds and taffeta mantuas...'

    "'Taffeta mantuas, Captain Goole?' cried his wife.

    "'Well, expensive garments. Paduasoy—Indian muslin—silk: all that kind of thing. And a fur pelisse.'

    "'How I should love some diamonds and a fur pelisse,' said Mrs Goole, but not aloud: and she conceived a rather favourable opinion of Captain Aubrey."

    --Patrick O'Brian, The Reverse of the Medal, 12

    February 24, 2008

  • see also padusoy

    March 21, 2010

  • His letters were a curious contrast to those of his girl-bride. She was evidently rather annoyed at his demands upon her for expressions of love, and could not quite understand what he meant by repeating the same thing over in so many different ways; but what she was quite clear

    about was a longing for a white "Paduasoy"--whatever that might be; and six or seven letters were principally occupied in asking her lover to use his influence with her parents (who evidently kept her in good order) to obtain this or that article of dress, more especially the white "Paduasoy."

    - Elizabeth Gaskell, ''Cranford''

    March 21, 2010

  • It was pretty to see from the letters, which were evidently

    exchanged with some frequency between the young mother and the

    grandmother, how the girlish vanity was being weeded out of her

    heart by love for her baby. The white "Paduasoy" figured again in the letters, with almost as much vigour as before. In one, it was being made into a christening cloak for the baby. It decked it when it went with its parents to spend a day or two at Arley Hall. It added to its charms...

    --Elizabeth Gaskell, ''Cranford''

    March 21, 2010