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