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[taf-i-tuh] /ˈtæf ɪ tə/
a medium-weight or light-weight fabric of acetate, nylon, rayon, or silk, usually smooth, crisp, and lustrous, plain-woven, and with a fine crosswise rib effect.
any of various other fabrics of silk, linen, wool, etc., in use at different periods.
of or resembling taffeta.
1325-75; Middle English taffata < Medieval LatinPersian tāftah silken or linen cloth, noun use of past participle of tāftan to twist, spin Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for taffeta
  • The doll's costume is of gray-green alpaca with a plaid taffeta turban.
  • He rode a horse and sported a priest's sash of red taffeta.
  • The lining of each cover consists of two pads of a taffeta acetate or equal backed with a paper backing.
British Dictionary definitions for taffeta


  1. a crisp lustrous plain-weave silk, rayon, etc, used esp for women's clothes
  2. (as modifier): a taffeta petticoat
any of various similar fabrics
Word Origin
C14: from Medieval Latin taffata, from Persian tāftah spun, from tāftan to spin
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 taffeta

late 14c., from Old French taffetas (early 14c.), from Italian taffeta, ultimately from Persian taftah "silk or linen cloth," noun use of taftah, past participle of taftan "to shine," also "to twist, spin." Applied to different fabrics at different times (and cf. tapestry).

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

fine, crisp plain-woven fabric with a faint weft, or filling-way, rib due to the greater number of warp threads than filling threads. It frequently has a lustrous surface. There are two distinct types of silk taffeta: yarn-dyed and piece-dyed. Yarn-dyed taffeta has a stiff handle and a rustle known as scroop, or froufrou. It is used for evening dresses and for underskirts for couture dresses in chiffon or georgette and is also used for academic hood linings. Piece-dyed taffeta, which is soft and washable, is a favourite fabric for linings. It is also used for electrical insulation, and a particularly strong form was much used for parachutes during World War II.

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Encyclopedia Britannica, 2008. Encyclopedia Britannica Online.
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