One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
1dated Scented oil used on men's hair to make it look glossy.
- ‘Prior to the 1970's an oily dressing, like brilliantine, was popular among smart young men.’
- ‘Guttman, closely cropped, clean-shaven and smelling of brilliantine, heads for Mozambique.’
- ‘My hair is wavy now that I rubbed fingertips of brilliantine through it and combed and brushed it.’
- ‘A man his age, his hair combed back with brilliantine, was nestled in one of the chairs.’
- ‘The firm was known for its cough medicine, but in fact the products included hair cream, brilliantine, and others.’
2US Shiny dress fabric made from cotton and mohair or cotton and worsted.
- ‘The bride will wear a white serge suit and the bridegroom will wear a white brilliantine suit.’
- ‘His mood alters as he turns from the brilliantine carpet to the brooding figures that adorn his walls.’
- ‘The race took the products of the economic boom all over Italy: brilliantine, coffee machines, and cookers.’
- ‘Ez wore that old black brilliantine dress of mothers and a wide brimmed hat.’
- ‘A young woman sulking in a brilliantine dress cut through.’
Late 19th century: from French brillantine, from brillant ‘shining’ (see brilliant).
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