Definition of fabric in English:



  • 1Cloth produced by weaving or knitting textile fibres.

    ‘heavy cream fabric’
    [count noun] ‘stretch fabrics’
    • ‘Apart from painting, he also designed carpets and fabrics, which were woven by his wife.’
    • ‘These narrow braids could also be woven on a small vertical loom similar to those used for weaving wider fabrics.’
    • ‘Instead, she has been playing around with contrasting fabrics, mixing heavy wool with silk crêpes.’
    • ‘Large checks, iridescent fabrics and decadent velvet are all worn with attitude.’
    • ‘Lovely silk brocades and other fine fabrics are woven, dyed and embroidered here.’
    • ‘Try to avoid polyester and other man-made fabrics, as they do not allow your skin to breathe.’
    • ‘Tightly woven fabrics will provide the best protection from the sun.’
    • ‘Too many contrasting textiles and fighting fabrics will give you feelings of disorder and anxiety.’
    • ‘I love the feel of natural fabrics; linen and silk are more lively and natural as well.’
    • ‘Silk fabrics were not, like cotton cloth, the normal wear of the labouring classes.’
    • ‘Like most of the others, he wore extravagant clothes made from the finest eastern silks and fabrics.’
    • ‘This is where a line of fabrics are reprinted on cheaper fabric to achieve a lower price.’
    • ‘The rest of the tent was an elaborate mess of silk fabrics, elegant furs, and expensive treasures.’
    • ‘The use of fabrics such as Thai silk, fur and stretch cotton brings diversity to the texture.’
    • ‘Shoes are available in many styles in fabrics which can be custom dyed to match the gown.’
    • ‘When people think of Turkey and shopping, they tend to think of rugs, kelims and other fabrics.’
    • ‘The heavier fabrics do hold in some heat and are best used in the early spring or late fall.’
    • ‘He gets his fabrics from the district or from Durban, a major fabric manufacturing centre.’
    • ‘The mill was packed with football shirts, fabrics and yarns ready to be sent across the world.’
    • ‘Gradually cotton gave way to silk and weavers branched out to textiles and fabrics as well.’
    cloth, material, textile, stuff, tissue, web
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  • 2The walls, floor, and roof of a building.

    ‘decay and neglect are slowly eating away at the building's fabric’
    • ‘In recent years the fabric of the building began to show signs of decay and in 1997 work began in earnest to rectify the damage.’
    • ‘Time is truly catching up with the fabric of the building.’
    • ‘The one-off grant was only available to be spent on the fabric of the building and on equipment, and could not fund medical or nurse staffing.’
    • ‘The rich, blue fabric of the walls makes a good foil for the drawings and prints which we are told will be its main exhibits.’
    • ‘Schools throughout Cumbria had to be closed after sustaining damage to building fabric.’
    • ‘The fabric of the buildings at the prison still gives the board cause for concern.’
    • ‘From a distance, the pub has an air of faded charm and elegance, but closer inspection reveals the fabric of the building is in need of restoration.’
    • ‘The listing of the 45 ft former windmill is intended to protect the entire fabric of the building inside and out.’
    • ‘It is possible to envisage situations where advertisements could be incorporated into the fabric of a building.’
    • ‘We should be looking after the fabric of our church buildings as part of our national heritage.’
    • ‘The condition of the building fabric and surrounding fencing and yard is poor.’
    • ‘Wet rot in the attic and upper floors is eating into the timber, plaster and fabric of the building and causing part of the roof to collapse.’
    • ‘Bradford Council says that it cannot afford to do the necessary repairs to the building and its fabric but surely it has spare cash.’
    • ‘Damage to the internal fabric of the building was widespread.’
    • ‘It also grants permission to restore the original building fabric of the railway station.’
    • ‘This included a complete gutting of the material fabric inside the building.’
    • ‘Corridors funnel deep into the fabric of the building, like the alleyways of a Mediterranean town.’
    • ‘The fabric of the building must have suffered greatly from the recent extremes of weather.’
    • ‘The building fabric itself is elaborated through sustainable design considerations.’
    • ‘The complex is badly in need of investment, not only to maintain the fabric of the buildings itself but also to raise the profile of the local community.’
    structure, framework, frame, form, make-up, constitution, composition, Construction, organization, infrastructure, foundations, mechanisms, anatomy, essence
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    1. 2.1The body of a car or aircraft.
      ‘we heard creaking and rushing noises in the car's fabric’
      • ‘An examination of the aircraft's fabric after the accident revealed that the paint covering on the fuselage and part of the tail was thicker than that on the wings.’
      • ‘The wing spars and ribs are made of extruded aluminum and the complete aircraft is covered with Ceconite fabric.’
    2. 2.2The basic structure of a society, culture, activity, etc.
      ‘the multicultural fabric of Canadian society’
      • ‘The answer has to lie in improving the economic, financial, and social fabric of our society.’
      • ‘Drugs have been destroying our youth for decades and they also tear into the very fabric of our society.’
      • ‘Vast inequality and poverty could strain the social fabric of our society.’
      • ‘Older persons can contribute to the future and fabric of society.’
      • ‘In fact, consumerism has spread like an epidemic, corroding the civic fabric of our society.’
      • ‘There is a lack of manners, a lack of courtesy nowadays, and you don't have to be Einstein to work out that the very fabric of society seems to be crumbling.’
      • ‘Instead he began to explore the social and cultural fabric of precolonial African societies.’
      • ‘We believe that to be silent about the truth damages the very fabric of our society.’
      • ‘I had thought it was the moral fabric of society decaying, but it seems it wasn't.’
      • ‘It is time to say enough is enough before the unique fabric of this multicultural society is destroyed by the enemies within.’
      • ‘It holds true that culture makes up the fabric of any society from which people draw their individual and cultural identity.’
      • ‘Aids has devastated the social and economic fabric of African societies and made orphans of a whole generation of children.’
      • ‘The fabric of any society begins with the individual, her sense of empowerment, her belief in her own agency.’
      • ‘Touching on the topic of corruption, Arnold defined it as a cancer which eats into the very fabric of society.’
      • ‘Zuma said something was clearly wrong within the moral fabric of society, and this required urgent action.’
      • ‘Instead of rights being secure within the very fabric of society, they were perilously superficial.’
      • ‘The fabric that binds society is delicate and needs careful handling.’
      • ‘We are already beginning to see how these profound demographic shifts are ripping the very fabric of societies.’
      • ‘How can we be vigilant if the very fabric of our society is put at risk in this manner?’
      • ‘He made a huge contribution to the social fabric of society in West Kerry and his unexpected death was a huge shock to the whole peninsula.’


Late 15th century: from French fabrique, from Latin fabrica something skilfully produced, from faber worker in metal, stone, etc. The word originally denoted a building, later a machine, the general sense being ‘something made’, hence fabric (mid 18th century, originally denoting any manufactured material). fabric dates from the mid 17th century.