a coverlet for a bed, made of two layers of fabric with some soft substance, as wool or down, between them and stitched in patterns or tufted through all thicknesses in order to prevent the filling from shifting.
c.1300, "mattress with soft lining," from Anglo-Fr. quilte, O.Fr. cuilte "quilt, mattress" (12c.), from L. culcita "mattress," of unknown origin. Sense of "thick outer bed covering" is first recorded 1596. The verb is 1555, from the noun.