One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
A soft and typically unbleached type of Chinese plain-woven fabric, originally made from threads of raw silk and now also other fibers such as cotton, which are usually mercerized.
- ‘Moore wrote that she ‘is tall and has dark hair and eyes and wears queer shades of blue silk and pongees and Boston shoes and hand made watch-chains and pins etc.’’
- ‘It is made with pongee nylon for less creasing of the fabric, it has a hexagon shaft for added durability, and a polished wooden handle.’
Early 18th century: from Chinese ( Mandarin dialect) bĕnjī literally ‘own loom’ or běnzhī literally ‘home-woven’.
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