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[klawth, kloth] /klɔθ, klɒθ/
noun, plural cloths
[klawth z, kloth z, klawths, kloths] /klɔðz, klɒðz, klɔθs, klɒθs/ (Show IPA)
a fabric formed by weaving, felting, etc., from wool, hair, silk, flax, cotton, or other fiber, used for garments, upholstery, and many other items.
a piece of such a fabric for a particular purpose:
an altar cloth.
the particular attire of any profession, especially that of the clergy.
the cloth, the clergy:
men of the cloth.
  1. one of the lengths of canvas or duck of standard width sewn side by side to form a sail, awning, or tarpaulin.
  2. any of various pieces of canvas or duck for reinforcing certain areas of a sail.
  3. a number of sails taken as a whole.
Obsolete. a garment; clothing.
of or made of cloth:
She wore a cloth coat trimmed with fur.
Origin of cloth
before 900; Middle English cloth, clath cloth, garment, Old English clāth; cognate with Dutch kleed, German Kleid
Related forms
clothlike, adjective
undercloth, noun
Can be confused
close, cloth, clothe, clothes, cloze (see synonym study at close) Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for cloths
  • As a protection against falling objects they put pillows on their heads tied down with cloths.
  • It works better on spots and softens the cloths way better.
  • Me as a consumer do not get a break for say drying cloths at night when demand is low.
  • He'd spent weeks scouring bargain counters at fabric stores, and eying sheets and table cloths.
  • Oh yeah, stocking up on cheesecloth and light linen cloths to wrap up the citrus trees.
  • If you use warm, wet cloths with the mineral oil, check frequently to be sure that the cloths have not become cold.
  • Don't get the pins wet and use two cloths, one to dip in the solution and run lightly over the crystals, the other to dry them.
  • Ask the crew for a plastic cup for each ear and two cloths dampened with boiling water to put in them.
  • On a line, a dozen freshly printed cloths flap in the breeze, a cacophony of color.
  • Also bring plastic zipped bags to store the soiled cloths.
British Dictionary definitions for cloths


noun (pl) cloths (klɒθs; klɒðz)
  1. a fabric formed by weaving, felting or knitting wool, cotton, etc
  2. (as modifier): a cloth bag
a piece of such fabric used for a particular purpose, as for a dishcloth
the cloth
  1. the clothes worn by a clergyman
  2. the clergy
(obsolete) clothing
(nautical) any of the panels of a sail
(mainly Brit) a piece of coloured fabric, used on the stage as scenery
(W African) a garment in a traditional non-European style
Word Origin
Old English clāth; related to Old Frisian klēth, Middle High German kleit cloth, clothing
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 cloths



Old English claþ "a cloth, sail, cloth covering, woven or felted material to wrap around one," hence, also, "garment," from Proto-Germanic *kalithaz (cf. Old Frisian klath "cloth," Middle Dutch cleet, Dutch kleed "garment, dress," Middle High German kleit, German Kleid "garment"), of obscure origin. As an adjective from 1590s. The cloth "the clerical profession" is from 17c. in reference to characteristic dress.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Idioms and Phrases with cloths
The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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