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(also bombasine, bambazine), 1550s, from French bombasin (14c.) "cotton cloth," from Medieval Latin bombacinium "silk texture," from Late Latin bombycinium, neuter of bombycinius "silken," from bombyx "silk, silkworm," from Greek bombyx. The post-classical transfer of the word from "silk" to "cotton" may reflect the perceived "silk-like" nature of the fabric, or a waning of familiarity with genuine silk in the European Dark Ages, but cf. bombast.
textile, usually black in colour, with a silk warp and worsted weft, or filling, woven in either plain or twill weave. Cheaper grades are woven with a rayon warp and worsted or cotton weft. Bombazine was originally made exclusively of silk and in a variety of colours, but the usual colour gradually became standardized as black because of its principal use in garb of mourning and of persons in religious orders. It was woven with silk warps and worsted wefts.