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Origin uncertain. Probably from cord +‎ duroy (name of a 17th century coarse fabric made in England). Probably not from French *corde du roi (cloth of the king), which is unattested in French, where the term for the "cloth of the king" was velours côtelé. Possibly from cordesoy (corde de soie), or "rope of silk or silk-like fabric" in French), named for example in a 1756 advertisement for clothing fabrics; see Wikipedia article, and comparable in language form to the contemporary serg(e)dusoys (silk serge), see Serge (fabric).



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corduroy (countable and uncountable, plural corduroys)

  1. A heavy fabric, usually made of cotton, with vertical ribs.
    • 1898, Winston Churchill, chapter 2, in The Celebrity:
      Sunning himself on the board steps, I saw for the first time Mr. Farquhar Fenelon Cooke. [] A silver snaffle on a heavy leather watch guard which connected the pockets of his corduroy waistcoat, together with a huge gold stirrup in his Ascot tie, sufficiently proclaimed his tastes.
    • 1956, Delano Ames, chapter 4, in Crime out of Mind[1]:
      We turned to see a muscular young man lounging in the door which led into the sitting-room. He wore green corduroy trousers, a duffle coat and an old school tie.

Derived terms[edit]



corduroy (third-person singular simple present corduroys, present participle corduroying, simple past and past participle corduroyed)

  1. To make (a road) by laying down split logs or tree-trunks over a marsh, swamp etc.
    • 1886, Ulysses S. Grant, Personal Memoirs of U.S. Grant, chapter 53
      The night was very dark and it rained heavily, the roads were so bad that the troops had to cut trees and corduroy the road a part of the way, to get through.
    • 1988, James McPherson, Battle Cry of Freedom, Oxford 2004, pp. 827-8:
      But Sherman organized “pioneer battalions” of soldiers and freedmen [] to cut saplings and trees to corduroy the roads, build bridges, and construct causeways.