One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
A twilled dress fabric of worsted and silk or cotton, especially a black kind formerly used for mourning clothes.
- ‘He remembers his first governess, Miss Arkell, a grey-haired lady with traces of beard upon her large flat face and a black dress of what he calls bombasine.’
- ‘Confusingly, the original source of the word was the Greek bombux, ‘silkworm ‘, from which we also get bombazine.’’
- ‘This visitor, dressed in a black bombazine gown and closely veiled, was a familiar sight on the streets of St. Louis, as she took the air daily in her light carriage.’
- ‘Leaning against the steel railing that surrounded the stairwell stood four men, dressed in green bombazine jumpsuits.’
- ‘The group's leading products include natural silk, hemp, pure cotton, hemp cotton, bombasine, staple rayon, down-proof flannelette, mixed spinning cloth etc.’
Mid 16th century (denoting raw cotton): from French bombasin, from medieval Latin bombacinum, from bombycinum, neuter of bombycinus ‘silken’, based on Greek bombux ‘silkworm’.
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