English

Definition of fabric noun from the Oxford Advanced Learner's Dictionary

     

    fabric

     noun
    noun
    BrE BrE//ˈfæbrɪk//
     
    ; NAmE NAmE//ˈfæbrɪk//
     
    Materials and properties, How a building looks, Departments in stores
     
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  1. 1 [uncountable, countable] material made by weaving wool, cotton, silk, etc., used for making clothes, curtains, etc. and for covering furniture cotton fabric furnishing fabrics Synonymsfabric cloth material textileThese are all words for woven or knitted cotton, silk, wool, etc, used for making things such as clothes and curtains, and for covering furniture.fabric woven or knitted cotton, silk, wool, etc, used for making things such as clothes and curtains, and for covering furniture:cotton fabric furnishing fabrics Fabric is often fairly strong material, and is often used when talking about covering furniture or making curtains.cloth fabric made by weaving or knitting cotton, wool, silk, etc:His bandages had been made from strips of cloth. Cloth is often fairly light material, especially in a form that has not been printed, treated, or prepared for use in any way. Cloth is frequently used in talking about buying and selling woven material.material fabric used for making clothes, curtains, etc:‘What material is this dress made of?’ ‘Cotton.’ Material is a more general word than fabric or cloth as it has the related meaning of ‘a substance that things can be made from’. It is not used when it might not be clear which type of material is meant:furnishing material the material industry a material manufacturertextile any type of fabric made by weaving or knitting:He owns a factory producing a range of textiles. the textile industry Textile is used mostly when talking about the business of making woven materials. The industry of making textiles is called textiles:He got a job in textiles.Patterns woven/​cotton/​woollen fabric/​cloth/​material/​textiles synthetic fabric/​material/​textiles printed fabric/​cloth/​textiles furnishing/​curtain/​dress fabric/​material See related entries: Materials and properties, Departments in stores
  2. 2[singular] the fabric (of something) (formal) the basic structure of a society, an organization, etc. that enables it to function successfully a trend which threatens the very fabric of society Synonymsstructureframework form composition construction fabricThese are all words for the way the different parts of something combine together or the way that something has been made.structure the way in which the parts of something are connected together or arranged; a particular arrangement of parts:the structure of the building/​human body the social structure of society the grammatical structures of a language a salary structureframework a set of beliefs, ideas or rules that forms the basis of a system or society:The report provides a framework for further research.form [U] the arrangement of parts in a whole, especially in a work of art of piece of writing:As a photographer, shape and form were more important to him than colour.composition [U] (rather formal) the different parts or people that combine to form something; the way in which they combine:recent changes in the composition of the workforceconstruction [U] the way that something has been built or made:ships of steel constructionfabric (rather formal) the basic structure of a society or an organization that enables it to function successfully:This is a trend which threatens the very fabric of society.Patterns the basic structure/​framework/​form/​composition/​construction/​fabric of something a simple/​complex structure/​framework/​form the economic/​political/​social structure/​framework/​composition/​fabric of something the chemical/​genetic structure/​composition of something
  3. 3[singular] the fabric (of something) the basic structure of a building, such as the walls, floor and roof See related entries: How a building looks
  4. Word Origin late 15th cent.: 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 sense (1) (mid 18th cent., originally denoting any manufactured material). Sense (2) dates from the mid 17th cent.Extra examples He believes that such legislation would threaten the fabric of our society. My clothes smell of fabric softener. The city retains much of its historic fabric. The fabric is woven on these machines. The government’s policies have destroyed the social fabric. a threat to the very fabric of society fabric swatches of the different types of mattress covering rich fabric wall coverings the basic fabric of family life They sell a wide variety of printed cotton fabric. This is a worrying trend which threatens the very fabric of society. We manufacture quality furnishing fabrics.
See the Oxford Advanced American Dictionary entry: fabric