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Old French veluotte, from Latin villus ‎(tuft, down).


  • (file)
  • (noun senses): (US) IPA(key): /ˈvɛlvɪt/
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velvet ‎(countable and uncountable, plural velvets)

  1. A closely woven fabric (originally of silk, now also of cotton or man-made fibres) with a thick short pile on one side.
    • 1918, W. B. Maxwell, chapter 2, in The Mirror and the Lamp[1]:
      She was a fat, round little woman, richly apparelled in velvet and lace, […]; and the way she laughed, cackling like a hen, the way she talked to the waiters and the maid, […]—all these unexpected phenomena impelled one to hysterical mirth, and made one class her with such immortally ludicrous types as Ally Sloper, the Widow Twankey, or Miss Moucher.
  2. Very fine fur, including the skin and fur on a deer's antlers.
  3. (rare) A female chinchilla; a sow.
  4. (slang) The drug dextromethorphan.


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Derived terms[edit]


velvet ‎(third-person singular simple present velvets, present participle velveting, simple past and past participle velveted)

  1. (cooking) To coat raw meat in starch, then in oil, preparatory to frying


velvet ‎(comparative more velvet, superlative most velvet)

  1. Made of velvet.
  2. Soft and delicate, like velvet; velvety.
    • Milton
      The cowslip's velvet head.
  3. (politics) peaceful, carried out without violence; especially as pertaining to the peaceful breakup of Czechoslovakia.
    • 1995, Amin Saikal, William Maley, Russia in Search of Its Future, page 214
      What at the time of the initial agreement of Yeltsin, Shushkevich and Kravchuk to join together in a new 'Commonwealth of Independent States' had seemed like a reconstitution of the lands of ancient Rus, quickly turned out to be, in the words of the leading Russian-Ukrainian reformer Aleksandr Tsipko, merely a 'velvet disintegration'.
    • 2006, The Analyst: Central and Eastern European Review
      The disintegration always took place within internal borders, whether it was velvet, as in the case of the Czech Republic and Slovakia, or bloody, like Yugoslavia's still unfinished break-up.
    • 2011, David Gillies, Elections in Dangerous Places: Democracy and the Paradoxes of Peacebuilding, page 248:
      If the Sudanese can resolve the final steps in a velvet divorce and move in a more democratic direction, that will serve as a heartening "ideal model of change" []
    • 2011, Javad Etaat quoted in Hooman Majd, The Ayatollahs' Democracy: An Iranian Challenge, page 39:
      “I was once invited to give a speech about the attempt to topple Iran's political system through a ‘velvet revolution,’ ” says Etaat in the debate, “but we all know that ‘velvet revolutions’ always occur in dictatorships.”
    • 2014, Dana H. Allin, NATO's Balkan Interventions, page 97
      There is such a thing as a velvet divorce: if Canada or Belgium were to split apart, the consequences would be unfortunate but manageable.