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[den-uh m] /ˈdɛn əm/
a heavy, Z-twist, twill cotton for jeans, overalls, and other work and leisure garments.
a similar fabric of finer quality, for covering cushions, furniture, etc.
denims, (used with a plural verb) a garment, especially trousers or overalls, made of denim.
Origin of denim
1685-95; < French: short for serge de Nîmes serge of Nîmes Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the Web for denim
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • The walls were covered to the height of five feet with denim of dark green.

    Weatherby's Inning Ralph Henry Barbour
  • The outside of the case will be improved greatly if covered with denim.

    The Boy Craftsman A. Neely Hall
  • We use the carbon stiffener on a pre-cut round of canvas or denim, then fit a standard tire.

    Makers Cory Doctorow
  • From under his denim jumper, Pablo brought forth a pint of claret.

    The Pride of Palomar Peter B. Kyne
  • Turn a fold two inches greater than this depth the entire length of the denim or other material and make a long bag.

British Dictionary definitions for denim


noun (textiles)
  1. a hard-wearing twill-weave cotton fabric used for trousers, work clothes, etc
  2. (as modifier): a denim jacket
  1. a similar lighter fabric used in upholstery
  2. (as modifier): denim cushion covers
Word Origin
C17: from French (serge) de Nîmes (serge) of Nîmes
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 denim

1690s, from French serge de Nîmes "serge from Nîmes," town in southern France. Application to "coarse cotton cloth" is first recorded 1850 in American English. Denims "pants made of denim" recorded from 1868. The place name is Roman Nemausus, said to be ultimately from Gaulish nemo "sanctuary."

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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