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English Wikipedia has an article on:
a velvet dress
velvet on an antler


From Middle English velvet, velwet, veluet, from Old Occitan veluet, from Late Latin villutittus, diminutive of villūtus, from Latin villus (shaggy hair, tuft of hair). Cognate with French velours.



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.
    • 1837, L[etitia] E[lizabeth] L[andon], Ethel Churchill: Or, The Two Brides. [], volume I, London: Henry Colburn, [], →OCLC, pages 206–207:
      For the first time since her husband's death, she had thrown off her weeds, and put on attire more suited to the occasion. She was richly, yet plainly dressed, in a purple velvet, with a hood of white point lace. Even her silent handmaids were surprised out of their ordinary propriety by her appearance.
    • 1918, W[illiam] B[abington] Maxwell, chapter II, in The Mirror and the Lamp, Indianapolis, Ind.: The Bobbs-Merrill Company, →OCLC:
      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.
    • 1575, Jacques du Fouilloux, “Of the Termes of Venery”, in George Gascoigne, transl., The Noble Art of Venerie or Hunting. [], London: [] Thomas Purfoot, published 1611, →OCLC, page 244:
      His [a hart's] head when it commeth firſt out, hath a ruſſet pyll vpon it, the which is called Veluet, []
  3. (rare, countable) A female chinchilla; a sow.
  4. (slang, uncountable) The drug dextromethorphan.
  5. (slang, uncountable) Money acquired by gambling.

Derived terms[edit]


The translations below need to be checked and inserted above into the appropriate translation tables. See instructions at Wiktionary:Entry layout § Translations.


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

  1. To cover with velvet or with a covering of a similar texture.
    • 1834, Edward Price, Norway. Views of Wild Scenery: and Journal[1], London: Hamilton, Adams & Co., Part I, p. 16:
      Penmachno mill is situate where a stream has furrowed a deep channel, and velveted the rocks with the richest mosses [] .
    • 1963 September 6, “Childe Harold in New York”, in Time:
      Last week the scaffolds were up in the hall once more. This time the back wall is to be velveted in absorbent fiber glass []
  2. (cooking) To coat raw meat in starch, then in oil, preparatory to frying.
    • 1982, Barbara Tropp, The Modern Art of Chinese Cooking, Morrow, published 1982, page 137:
      Blanching cut and specially marinated chicken in oil or water prior to stir-frying is a technique common to Chinese restaurant kitchens. The 20-second bath tenderizes the chicken remarkably, hence the process has been dubbed "velveting" in English. Velveted chicken is half-cooked, will not stick to the pan, and needs almost no oil when stir-fried.
  3. To remove the velvet from a deer's antlers.
    • 2014, "Top genetic selection produces biggest antlers,", 12 July, 2014, [2]
      Reacting to painkillers when velveted, Sovereign II was too sick to grow antlers last year, but has since recovered.
  4. (figurative, transitive) To soften; to mitigate.
    • 2006, Diane Setterfield, The Thirteenth Tale:
      She spoke very gently, full of compassion for the boy, velveting her reproach for me.
  5. (of a cat's claws) to retract.



velvet (comparative more velvet, superlative most velvet)

  1. Made of velvet.
  2. Soft and delicate, like velvet; velvety.
    • 1878, John Beauchamp Jones, Wild Western Scenes, page 125:
      The fawn then rose up, and creeping gently about the room, touched the cheeks or hands of the slumbering inmates with its velvet tongue, but so softly that none were awakened.
    • 1634 October 9 (first performance), [John Milton], edited by H[enry] Lawes, A Maske Presented at Ludlow Castle, 1634: [], London: [] [Augustine Matthews] for Hvmphrey Robinson, [], published 1637, →OCLC; reprinted as Comus: [] (Dodd, Mead & Company’s Facsimile Reprints of Rare Books; Literature Series; no. I), New York, N.Y.: Dodd, Mead & Company, 1903, →OCLC:
      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.


Further reading[edit]

Middle English[edit]

Alternative forms[edit]


Borrowed from Old Occitan veluet, from Late Latin villutittus.


  • IPA(key): /vɛlˈvɛt/, /vɛlˈwɛt/


velvet (plural veluettes)

  1. velvet (fine tufted fabric)
  2. Clothes made of velvet.


  • English: velvet
  • Scots: velvet