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[shuh-neel] /ʃəˈnil/
a velvety cord or yarn of silk or worsted, for embroidery, fringes, etc.
fabric made with a fringed silken thread used as the weft in combination with wool or cotton.
any fabric with a protruding pile, as in certain rayon bedspreads.
a deep-pile, durable, woolen carpeting with chenille weft: the most expensive power-loomed floor covering.
Origin of chenille
1730-40; < French: velvety cord, literally, caterpillar < Latin canīcula, with etymological sense “little dog,” though attested only in senses “shrewish woman, dogfish, Sirius” (see canicular); for parallel use of “cat” in same sense, see caterpillar Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for chenille
  • The curl prevents the chenille stem from pulling out of the tulip and forms the center of the flower.
  • Soft, cozy faux fur chenille lining made for barefoot wear, cushioned insole.
  • Maroon is the dominant interior scheme, from the chairs to the chenille-covered settees.
  • The model sketched at the left with the contrasting yoke and belt is of cotton chenille.
  • The bed was unmade, the sheets pink with a nubbly chenille coverlet.
  • Fresh flowers, original lithographs and chenille bedspreads make this a romantic, cozy place to spend the night.
  • Carefully, poke a hole through the center of the stack from the bottom with a chenille stem.
British Dictionary definitions for chenille


a thick soft tufty silk or worsted velvet cord or yarn used in embroidery and for trimmings, etc
a fabric of such yarn
a rich and hard-wearing carpet of such fabric
Word Origin
C18: from French, literally: hairy caterpillar, from Latin canicula, diminutive of canis dog
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for chenille

"velvety cord," 1738, from French chenille, properly "caterpillar," literally "little dog" (13c.), from Latin canicula "a dog" (also "a violent woman; the star Sirius; the worst throw in dice"), diminutive of canis "dog" (see canine (n.)). So called for its furry look. Cf. caterpillar.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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