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1780, probably from cord + obsolete 17c. duroy, name of a coarse fabric made in England, of unknown origin. Folk etymology is from *corde du roi "the king's cord," but this is not attested in French, where the term for the cloth was velours à côtes. Applied in U.S. to a road of logs across swampy ground (1780s) on similarity of appearance.
CORDUROY ROAD. A road or causeway constructed with logs laid together over swamps or marshy places. When properly finished earth is thrown between them by which the road is made smooth; but in newly settled parts of the United States they are often left uncovered, and hence are extremely rough and bad to pass over with a carriage. Sometimes they extend many miles. They derive their name from their resemblance to a species of ribbed velvet, called corduroy. [Bartlett]
strong durable fabric with a rounded cord, rib, or wale surface formed by cut pile yarn. The back of the goods has a plain or a twill weave. Corduroy is made from any of the major textile fibres and with one warp and two fillings. After it is woven, the back of the cloth is coated with glue; the floats of pile yarn are then cut in their centre. The glue prevents the filling from drawing out of the goods during the cutting. The glue is removed from the face, which is then subjected to a series of brushings, waxings, and singeings to produce a velvetlike ribbed finish.