velvet

[vel-vit]
noun
1.
a fabric of silk, nylon, acetate, rayon, etc., sometimes having a cotton backing, with a thick, soft pile formed of loops of the warp thread either cut at the outer end or left uncut.
2.
something likened to the fabric velvet, as in softness or texture: the velvet of her touch; the velvet of the lawn.
3.
the soft, deciduous covering of a growing antler.
4.
Informal. a very pleasant, luxurious, desirable situation.
5.
Informal.
a.
money gained through gambling; winnings.
b.
clear gain or profit, especially when more than anticipated.
adjective
6.
Also, velveted. made of velvet or covered with velvet.
7.
Also, velvetlike. resembling or suggesting velvet; smooth; soft; velvety: a velvet night; a cat's velvet fur.

Origin:
1275–1325; Middle English velvet, veluet, veluwet < Old French veluotte, equivalent to velu (< Medieval Latin vil(l)ūtus; Latin vill(us) shaggy nap (cf. villus) + Late Latin -ūtus for Latin -ātus -ate1) + -otte noun suffix

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World English Dictionary
velvet (ˈvɛlvɪt)
 
n
1.  a.  a fabric of silk, cotton, nylon, etc, with a thick close soft usually lustrous pile
 b.  (as modifier): velvet curtains
2.  anything with a smooth soft surface
3.  a.  smoothness; softness
 b.  (as modifier): velvet skin; a velvet night
4.  the furry covering of the newly formed antlers of a deer
5.  slang chiefly (US)
 a.  gambling or speculative winnings
 b.  a gain, esp when unexpectedly high
6.  velvet glove gentleness or caution, often concealing strength or determination (esp in the phrase an iron fistorhand in a velvet glove)
 
[C14: veluet, from Old French veluotte, from velu hairy, from Vulgar Latin villutus (unattested), from Latin villus shaggy hair]
 
'velvet-like
 
adj
 
'velvety
 
adj

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
2009 © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
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Etymonline
Word Origin & History

velvet
1320, probably from O.Prov. veluet, from V.L. *villutittus, dim. of V.L. villutus "velvet," lit. "shaggy cloth," from L. villus "shaggy hair, nap of cloth, tuft of hair," probably a dialectal variant of vellus "fleece."
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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American Heritage
Idioms & Phrases

velvet

see under iron hand.

The American Heritage® Dictionary of Idioms by Christine Ammer.
Copyright © 1997. Published by Houghton Mifflin.
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Example sentences
The intricate box, lined with blue velvet, contains pieces of mirror mounted on
  the rear surface.
There are velvet revolutions as well as violent ones.
She flung her velvet opera cloak over the maid's shoulders and turned back into
  the drawing-room, shutting the door sharply.
Most of all, never let the public know there is an iron fist inside your velvet
  glove.
Idioms & Phrases
Image for velvet
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