AskDefine | Define velvet

Dictionary Definition

velvet adj
1 smooth and soft to sight or hearing or touch or taste [syn: velvety]
2 resembling velvet in having a smooth soft surface [syn: velvety] n : a silky densely piled fabric with a plain back

User Contributed Dictionary

English

Etymology

veluotte, from villus 'tuft, down'.

Pronunciation

Noun

  1. A closely woven fabric (originally of silk, now also of cotton or man-made fibres) with a thick short pile on one side.

Translations

Derived terms

Extensive Definition

Velvet is a type of tufted fabric in which the cut threads are very evenly distributed, with a short dense pile, giving it its distinct feel. Velvet can be made from many different kinds of fibers. It is woven on a special loom that weaves two pieces of velvet at the same time. The two pieces are then cut apart and the two lengths of fabric are wound on separate take-up rolls.
Velvet's knitted counterpart is velour. Velvet was very expensive and was considered to be among the luxury goods together with silk. Corduroy and velveteen were considered the "poor man's velvet" when they were first produced.
Velvet is difficult to clean, but in modern times, dry cleaning is used.
Panne is a type of finish for velvet which gives it a special shiny look, similar to many velours.
Velvet is made, ideally, from silk. Cotton can also be used, though this often results in a slightly less luxurious fabric. More recently, synthetic velvets have been developed, mostly polyester, nylon, viscose, acetate and mixtures of different synthetics, or synthetics and natural fibres (eg. viscose and silk). Velvet can also be made from fibres such as linen, mohair and wool. A cloth made by the Kuba people of the Democratic Republic of Congo from raffia is often referred to as "Kuba velvet".
A small percentage of lycra is used sometimes to give stretch.

History

The art of velvet-weaving probably originated in ancient Kashmir. Earliest references occur around the beginning of the 14th century.
The peculiar properties of velvet, the splendid yet softened depth of dye colour it exhibited, made it fit for official robes and sumptuous hangings. The most magnificent textiles of medieval times were Italian velvets. These were ornamentated by such techniques in silk, with uncut pile or with a ground of gold tissue, etc.
The earliest sources of European artistic velvets were Lucca, Genoa, Florence and Venice, and Genoa continues to send out rich velvet textures. Somewhat later the art was taken up by Flemish weavers, and in the 16th century Bruges attained a reputation for velvets which was not inferior to that of the great Italian cities.

Black velvet paintings

A brief history of black velvet paintings is presented by Pamela Liflander in Black Velvet Artist, a booklet published by Running Press, Philadelphia, 2003, and included in an identically-titled art kit. She notes that "The birthplace of black velvet paintings can be traced to ancient Kashmir, which is considered to be the fabric's original homeland. These paintings were religious in nature, portraying the iconic artwork of the Caucasus region by Russian Orthodox priests." She further wrote that Marco Polo and others introduced the West to this art form, and that some of these early works still hang in the Vatican. Liflander also details the life of Edgar Leeteg (1904–1953), "the father of American black velvet kitsch," whose "raucous and bawdy" life was previously captured by James Michener in Rascals in Paradise (1957).
Velvet paintings are widely sold in rural America, and usually have kitsch themes. They often depict images of Elvis Presley (see Velvet Elvis), Dale Earnhardt, John Wayne, Jesus, Native Americans, and cowboys. They can also include more exotic or avant-garde themes.
Ciudad Juárez, Mexico was the Florence of velvet painting in the 1970s. A displaced Georgia farmboy, Doyle Harden, was the pioneer who created an enormous factory, where velvets were turned out by the thousands by artists sitting in studios. One artist would paint one piece of the picture, then slide the velvet along to the next artist, who would add something else. That way velvet paintings were mass produced by hand, fueling the boom in velvet paintings in the 1970s in the United States.
Velvet is also a common type of name for dark or light purple colors in western Canada.
velvet in Catalan: Vellut
velvet in Czech: Samety a plyše
velvet in German: Samt
velvet in Spanish: Terciopelo
velvet in Finnish: Sametti
velvet in French: Velours
velvet in Italian: Velluto
velvet in Luxembourgish: Samett
velvet in Dutch: Fluweel
velvet in Japanese: ベルベット
velvet in Polish: Welwet
velvet in Portuguese: Veludo
velvet in Russian: Бархат (ткань)
velvet in Swedish: Sammet
velvet in Turkish: Kadife

Synonyms, Antonyms and Related Words

Easy Street, affluence, alabaster, bed of roses, billiard table, blubber, bowling alley, bowling green, breeze, butter, cinch, clay, clover, comfort, contentment, cushion, daintiness, delicacy, dough, down, downiness, ease, easy circumstances, easy target, easy thing, eiderdown, feather bed, feathers, felicity, filminess, fine-grainedness, fineness, flat, fleece, fleshpots, floss, flue, fluff, fluffiness, foam, fuzz, fuzziness, glass, gossameriness, gracious life, gracious living, happiness, ice, ivory, kapok, lap of luxury, level, life of ease, loaves and fishes, luxury, mahogany, marble, peach fuzz, picnic, pie, piece of cake, pillow, plane, plush, prosperity, prosperousness, pubescence, pudding, puff, pushover, putty, refinement, rubber, satin, satininess, security, setup, silk, silkiness, sinecure, sitting duck, slide, smooth, smoothness, snap, softness, solid comfort, success, swansdown, tennis court, the affluent life, the good life, thistledown, thriving condition, upward mobility, velvetiness, wax, weal, wealth, welfare, well-being, wool, zephyr
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