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

Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
Cite This Source Link To taffeta
World English Dictionary
taffeta (ˈtæfɪtə)
1.  a.  a crisp lustrous plain-weave silk, rayon, etc, used esp for women's clothes
 b.  (as modifier): a taffeta petticoat
2.  any of various similar fabrics
[C14: from Medieval Latin taffata, from Persian tāftah spun, from tāftan to spin]

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
2009 © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009
Cite This Source
Word Origin & History

1373, from O.Fr. taffetas (1317), from It. taffeta, ult. from Pers. taftah "silk or linen cloth," noun use of taftah, pp. of taftan "to shine," also "to twist, spin." Applied to different fabrics at different times (and cf. tapestry).
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
Cite This Source
Encyclopedia Britannica


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.

Learn more about taffeta with a free trial on Britannica.com.

Encyclopedia Britannica, 2008. Encyclopedia Britannica Online.
Cite This Source
Example sentences
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.
Related Words
Copyright © 2014 Dictionary.com, LLC. All rights reserved.
  • Please Login or Sign Up to use the Recent Searches feature