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Yellow brocade bonnet of Victorian times in England
Mediterranean Brocade, a noctuid moth, Spodoptera littoralis, with patterns and textures suggesting brocade


From Occitan brocada and Spanish and Portuguese brocado, influenced by French brocart, from Italian broccato, from brocco, ultimately from Gaulish.


  • IPA(key): /bɹəˈkeɪd/
  • (file)
  • Rhymes: -eɪd


brocade (countable and uncountable, plural brocades)

  1. (countable, uncountable) A thick heavy fabric into which raised patterns have been woven, originally in gold and silver; more recently any cloth incorporating raised, woven patterns.[1]
    • 1837, L[etitia] E[lizabeth] L[andon], Ethel Churchill: Or, The Two Brides. [], volume I, London: Henry Colburn, [], OCLC 21345056, pages 65–66:
      Madame Legarde, the "glass of fashion and the nurse of form," (alias the most fashionable of milliners,) has comfortably assured me, "that my figure has great merit, and only requires cultivation:" this is to be done by tissues, brocades, and laces, which are now scattered round me in charming confusion.
    • 1976, Saul Bellow, Humboldt's Gift, New York: Avon, →ISBN, page 321:
      … his desire to stand in brocade and sing Rhadames in Aida was like my eagerness to go far, far beyond fellow intellectuals of my generation who had lost the imaginative soul.
  2. An item decorated with brocade.
  3. Any of several species of noctuid moths such as some species in the genera Calophasia and Hadena
    • 2016, P.P. Mary et al, Akshay Kumar Chakravarthy et al, editors, Arthropod Diversity and Conservation in the Tropics and Sub-tropics[1], Springer, →ISBN:
      Other species considered occasional migrants have become established in the UK in recent years, such as the ... sombre brocade, Blair's mocha, Flame brocade, and Clifden nonpareil.
  4. (metaphoric) A decorative pattern.
    • 1826, Thomas Dudley Fosbroke, A picturesque and topographical account of Cheltenham, and its Vicinity:
      The shrubbery around the cottages is a brocade of lawns and shrubs intermixed, in fancy patterns, with gravel walks, in various directions, which wind into the woods.
    • 1976, Annemarie Schimmel, Pain and Grace: A Study of Two Mystical Writers of Eighteent-Century Muslim India, page 126:
      It is as though the poets and mystics were weaving a colorful brocade of words with the intention to please God and to show His greatness to the world.
    • 2012, Kakuzo Okakura, The Book of Tea, →ISBN, page 36:
      Saying this, Rikyu stepped into the garden, shook a tree and scattered over the garden gold and crimson leaves, scraps of the brocade of autumn!



brocade (third-person singular simple present brocades, present participle brocading, simple past and past participle brocaded)

  1. To decorate fabric with raised woven patterns.



  1. ^ Brown, Lesley The New shorter Oxford English dictionary on historical principles. pub. Clarendon Oxford 1993 isbn=0-19-861271-0