Definition from Wiktionary, the free dictionary
Jump to navigation Jump to search


English Wikipedia has an article on:
a corduroy jacket


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).



corduroy (countable and uncountable, plural corduroys)

  1. A heavy fabric, usually made of cotton, with vertical ribs.
    • 1897 December (indicated as 1898), Winston Churchill, chapter II, in The Celebrity: An Episode, New York, N.Y.: The Macmillan Company; London: Macmillan & Co., Ltd., OCLC 222716698:
      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.
  2. (obsolete, Ireland, slang) Cheap and poor-quality whiskey.
    Synonym: kill-the-beggar
    • [1834 June 16, Edgar, John, “Minutes of Evidence, Monday, the Sixteenth Day of June, 1834”, in Evidence on Drunkenness, London: British and Foreign Temperance Society, published 1834, page 93:
      Another description of what would be termed adulterated spirits, is by the vulgar termed "Corduroy," on account of the rough feeling which it imparts to the tongue and palate.]
    • 1835, Hood, Thomas, “Ode to J. S. Buckingham, Esq. M.P.”, in The Comic Annual, pages 135–136:
      To men of common gumption, / Hot strange, besides, must seem / At this time any scheme / To put a check upon potheen's consumption, / When all are calling for Irish Poor Laws! / Instead of framing more laws, / To pauperism if you'd give a pegger, / Don't check, but patronise their "Kill-the-Beggar!" / If Pat is apt to go in Irish Linen, / (Buttoning his coat, with nothing but his skin in) / Would any Christian man -- that's quite himself, / His wits not floor'd, or laid upon the shelf --, While blaming Pat for raggedness, poor boy, / Would deprive him of his "Corduroy!"
  3. A pattern on snow resulting from the use of a snow groomer to pack snow and improve skiing, snowboarding and snowmobile trail conditions. Corduroy is widely regarded as a good surface on which to ski or ride.

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.