Definitions

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

  • n. A heavy cloth woven with rich, often varicolored designs or scenes, usually hung on walls for decoration and sometimes used to cover furniture.
  • n. Something felt to resemble a richly and complexly designed cloth: the tapestry of world history.
  • transitive v. To hang or decorate with tapestry.
  • transitive v. To make, weave, or depict in a tapestry.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. A heavy woven cloth, often with decorative pictorial designs, normally hung on walls.
  • n. Anything with variegated or complex details.
  • v. To decorate with tapestry, or as if with a tapestry.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. A fabric, usually of worsted, worked upon a warp of linen or other thread by hand, the designs being usually more or less pictorial and the stuff employed for wall hangings and the like. The term is also applied to different kinds of embroidery.
  • transitive v. To adorn with tapestry, or as with tapestry.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. A fabric resembling textile fabrics in that it consists of a warp upon which colored threads of wool, silk, gold, or silver are fixed to produce a pattern, but differing from it in the fact that these threads are not thrown with the shuttle, but are put in one by one with a needle.
  • n. Tapestry now made in the city of Aubusson for wall-hangings and curtains. The greater part of the modern tapestry offered for sale in Paris is attributed to this make. Some of it is of great beauty; but in general old designs are copied, or modified to suit the size of rooms for which the hangings are ordered.
  • n. By abuse of the name, a printed worsted cloth for covering chairs, sofas, etc., in imitation of tapestry. See gobelin.
  • To adorn with tapestry.
  • To adorn with hangings or with any pendent covering.

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

  • n. a heavy textile with a woven design; used for curtains and upholstery
  • n. a wall hanging of heavy handwoven fabric with pictorial designs
  • n. something that resembles a tapestry in its complex pictorial designs

Etymologies

Middle English tapiceri, tapstri, from Old French tapisserie, from tapisser, to cover with carpet, from tapis, carpet, from Greek tapētion, diminutive of tapēs, perhaps of Iranian origin.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)

Examples

  • Meanwhile as a backdrop the tapestry is an ongoing piece of work, as we say in the NHS.

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  • One memorable tapestry from the show is of a young woman with straight blonde hair who faces the viewer with some apparent shyness.

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  • Nava's engagement in tapestry began in 1999 when he was commissioned to create 3 cycles of tapestries for the Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels in Los Angeles.

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  • In front of the white marble mantel was a screen of old Gobelin tapestry which was presented to Mrs Grant by the Emperor of Austria.

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  • Though Richmond stints on pageantry -- the sprawling tapestry is embodied by a mere 11 actors -- this "Henry VIII" is not without its compelling spectacle.

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  • You forgot your lesson that the tapestry is complex, hairs split, the tossed coin has three sides to fall on.

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  • Each episode in this mammoth sociocultural tapestry is related in the first person, and set in a different international locale ....

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  • I am doing all I can to compensate him for it, i.e., working diligently an armchair in tapestry for him.

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  • The word tapestry suffers as much as any other -- witness the attempt made for hundreds of years among all nations to set apart a word that shall be used only to designate the hand-woven pictured hangings and coverings discussed in this book; arras, gobelins, _toile peinte_, etc. In English, tapestry may mean almost any decorative stuff, and so comes it that we speak of the wonderful hanging which gives name to this chapter as the tapestry of Bayeux (plates facing pages 242, 243 and 244), when it is in reality an embroidery.

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  • No, you’re just trying to cast doubt by picking at any little thread you can get your hands on, when the overall tapestry is clear for anyone to see.

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