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[krin-l-in] /ˈkrɪn l ɪn/
a petticoat of haircloth or other stiff material, worn under a full skirt to keep it belled out.
a stiff, coarse cotton material for interlining.
a hoop skirt.
a reinforcement of iron straps for holding together brickwork, as of a furnace or chimney.
1820-30; < French < Italian crinolino, equivalent to crino horse-hair (≪ Latin crīnis hair) + lino flax < Latin līnum; cf. linen Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for crinoline
  • Dressmakers used loops of it to hold the shape of the crinoline hoop skirts then in fashion.
  • Its lustrous white satin billowed from the waist into a crinoline that coruscated with flowers of pearls and leaves of gold.
British Dictionary definitions for crinoline


a stiff fabric, originally of horsehair and linen used in lining garments
a petticoat stiffened with this, worn to distend skirts, esp in the mid-19th century
a framework of steel hoops worn for the same purpose
Word Origin
C19: from French, from Italian crinolino, from crino horsehair, from Latin crīnis hair + lino flax, from Latin līnum
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
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Word Origin and History for crinoline

1830, from French crinoline "hair cloth" (19c.), from Italian crinolino, from crino "horsehair" (from Latin crinis "hair") + lino "flax, thread," from Latin linum (see linen). So called from the warp and woof fibers of the original mixture.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Encyclopedia Article for crinoline

originally, a petticoat made of horsehair fabric, of the late 1840s, taking its name from the French word crin ("horsehair"). It was worn with whalebone stays and multiple other petticoats and flounces. In 1856, horsehair and whalebone were replaced by a light frame of metal spring hoops. The wide, bell-shaped skirt contrasted with tiny corseted waists. In the late 1850s and early 1860s, the cage crinoline that evolved became so popular that it was worn by ladies' maids and factory girls as well as by the rich. From the dome shape of the 1850s, the crinoline was altered to a pyramid in the 1860s, and about 1865 it became almost flat in front. Smaller "walking" skirts were devised, and by 1868 the crinolette was hooped only at the back and served as a bustle. The crinoline was generally out of fashion by 1878. See also farthingale; hoop skirt.

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Encyclopedia Britannica, 2008. Encyclopedia Britannica Online.
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