Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • n. A durable cut-pile fabric, usually made of cotton, with vertical ribs.
  • n. Trousers made of corduroy.
  • n. A road made of logs laid down crosswise.
  • adj. Made of a fabric with vertical ribs.
  • adj. Made of logs laid down crosswise: a corduroy road.
  • transitive v. To build (a road) of logs laid down crosswise.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. A heavy fabric, usually made of cotton, with vertical ribs.
  • v. To make (a road) by laying down split logs or tree-trunks over a marsh, swamp etc.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. A sort of cotton velveteen, having the surface raised in ridges.
  • n. Trousers or breeches of corduroy.
  • transitive v. To form of logs laid side by side.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. A thick cotton stuff corded or ribbed on the surface.
  • n. A corduroy road. See II., 1.
  • Like corduroy; ribbed like corduroy: as, a corduroy road.
  • Made of corduroy.
  • To make or construct by means of small logs laid transversely, as a road.
  • In splitting a hide, to make uneven lines or spots on the flesh side of it.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • n. a road made of logs laid crosswise
  • v. build (a road) from logs laid side by side
  • n. a cut pile fabric with vertical ribs; usually made of cotton

Etymologies

Probably from cord + obsolete duroy, a coarse woolen fabric.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
Origin uncertain; but not apparently from French corde du roi ("cloth of the king"), which was never used in French. (Wiktionary)

Examples

  • Corduroy's origins date back to the late 1700s England, not France as is widely believed, says James Pruden, a spokesman for Cotton Inc., a research and promotion nonprofit headquartered in Cary, N.C. The term corduroy is most likely a combination of the words "cord" and the now obsolete "duroy" or "deroy," meaning a woolen garment, he says.

    Reading Between the Lines, This Is a Big Date for Corduroy Fans

  • Where House Republican leader John Boehner belongs to a golf club that cost 75K to join, wears thousand dollar suits, and travels on corporate jets, he campaigns in corduroy shirts.

    Fred Rotondaro: Storytelling and the November Elections

  • At 06.27 hours on 1 January 1975, Alfred Archibald Jones was dressed in corduroy and sat in a fume-filled Cavalier Musketeer Estate face down on the steering wheel, hoping the judgement would not be too heavy upon him.

    Excerpt: White Teeth by Zadie Smith

  • The populace had grown so hardened to artists that gruff-voiced lesbians in corduroy breeches and young men in Grecian or medieval costume could walk the streets without attracting a glance, and along the Seine banks Notre Dame it was almost impossible to pick one’s way between the sketching-stools.

    Inside the Whale

  • "Suppose I were to dress in corduroy and run a grist mill."

    The Miller of Old Church

  • The man in corduroy and dirty neckerchief no longer addressed me as

    The Descent

  • To this day I can feel myself almost swooning with shame as I stood, a very small, round-faced boy in short corduroy knickers, before the two women.

    Collected Essays

  • Here he was, dressed in corduroy trousers and a light-blue shirt; concentrating, eyes half closed or fully shut; defined gestures; confident breath; fingers flat on the open holes of his clarinet; the muscles of his mouth tight, yet not puffing out his cheeks around the mouthpiece; his upper lip surprisingly mobile, at times seeming to inhale and swallow the top of the reed and at times curling back as if to convey its decision to keep its distance, disavow that nasty instrument, and, all of a sudden, with sovereign authority, literally cut off its breath …

    In the Footsteps of Tocqueville (Part V)

  • He’s calling her a sinner because according to her sins (from Leviticus) corduroy is also a sin since because it is made of wool and cotton.

    Sin | My[confined]Space

  • Like if I hate corduroy, that is my business, not his.

    PS

Comments

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  • skiing term for finely ridged snow

    January 18, 2013

  • I always try to guess the etymology before I read it, and of course guessed wrong on this. It *looks* like it should be the king's cords, but it's not.

    November 11, 2011

  • This is just a modern rock song,
    This is just a sorry lament,
    We're four boys in corduroys,
    We're not terrific but we're competent.


    (This is just a modern rock song, by Belle and Sebastian)

    September 17, 2008

  • 1780, Amer.Eng., probably from cord + obs. 17c. duroy, a coarse fabric made in England. Folk etymology is from *corde du roi "the king's cord," but this is not attested in Fr., where the term for the cloth was velours à côtes. Applied in U.S. to a road of logs across swampy ground (1822).

    August 12, 2007