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From Middle English clothen, from Old English clāþian (to clothe), from Proto-Germanic *klaiþōną (to clothe), from Proto-Indo-European *gley- (to adhere to, stick). Cognate with Dutch kleden, German kleiden, Swedish kläda, after apocope klä. See also cloth, clad.



clothe (third-person singular simple present clothes, present participle clothing, simple past and past participle clad or clothed)

  1. (transitive) To adorn or cover with clothing; to dress; to supply clothes or clothing.
    to feed and clothe a family; to clothe oneself extravagantly
  2. (figuratively) To cover or invest, as if with a garment.
    to clothe somebody with authority or power
    • (Can we date this quote by Watts and provide title, author’s full name, and other details?)
      language in which they can clothe their thoughts
    • (Can we date this quote by J. Dyer and provide title, author’s full name, and other details?)
      His sides are clothed with waving wood.
    • 1667, John Milton, “Book 2”, in Paradise Lost. A Poem Written in Ten Books, London: Printed [by Samuel Simmons], and are to be sold by Peter Parker [] [a]nd by Robert Boulter [] [a]nd Matthias Walker, [], OCLC 228722708; republished as Paradise Lost in Ten Books: The Text Exactly Reproduced from the First Edition of 1667: [], London: Basil Montagu Pickering [], 1873, OCLC 230729554:
      words clothed in reason's garb


Derived terms[edit]


Middle English[edit]

Etymology 1[edit]

From Old English clāþ.



  1. Alternative form of cloth

Etymology 2[edit]

From Old English clāþian.



  1. Alternative form of clothen