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late 14c., from Old French taffetas (early 14c.), from Italian taffeta, ultimately from Persian taftah "silk or linen cloth," noun use of taftah, past participle of taftan "to shine," also "to twist, spin." Applied to different fabrics at different times (and cf. tapestry).
fine, crisp plain-woven fabric with a faint weft, or filling-way, rib due to the greater number of warp threads than filling threads. It frequently has a lustrous surface. There are two distinct types of silk taffeta: yarn-dyed and piece-dyed. Yarn-dyed taffeta has a stiff handle and a rustle known as scroop, or froufrou. It is used for evening dresses and for underskirts for couture dresses in chiffon or georgette and is also used for academic hood linings. Piece-dyed taffeta, which is soft and washable, is a favourite fabric for linings. It is also used for electrical insulation, and a particularly strong form was much used for parachutes during World War II.