Frock has been used since Middle Englishas the name for an article of clothing for men and women ("see also" clothing terminology).

History of the frock

Originally, a "frock" was a loose, long garment with wide, full sleeves, such as the habit of a monk or priest, commonly belted. (This is the origin of the modern term defrock or unfrock, meaning "to eject from the priesthood").

The term has been continually applied to various types of clothing, generally denoting a loosely fitted garment:

*From the sixteenth century to the early twentieth century, "frock" was applied to a woman's dress or gown, in the fashion of the day, often indicating an unfitted, comfortable garment for wear in the house, or (later) a light overdress worn with a slip or underdress.

*From the seventeenth century on, a "frock" is a thigh- or full-length loose outer garment worn by shepherds, workmen, and farm workers in Britain, generally of heavy linen with a broad flat collar, now usually called a smock-frock. In some areas, this traditional frock buttons up the front in the manner of a coat, while in others it is a pullover style.

*In the eighteenth century in Britain and America, a "frock" was an unfitted men's coat for hunting or other country pursuits, with a broad, flat collar, derived from the traditional working-class frock. Late in the eighteenth century it came to be made with a cutaway front without a waist seam and this may have evolved into the standard dress coat with horizontally cutaway fronts worn for daytime wear by the early nineteenth century and from which the modern tail coat for white tie is derived. The great coat may similarly be historically derived from the frock as it similarly is single breasted, with a high and broad collar, waist pockets, and also lacked a waist seam early in its history as can be seen in an example in the Victoria and Albert Museum, London.

The precise historical evolution of the frock after the second half of the eighteenth century is obscure, however it is likely that the frock was gradually supplanted by the frock coat in the early nineteenth century, eventually being relegated to evening dress. The frock coat in turn became cut away into the modern modern coat, giving us the two modern coats with tails.

*"Frock" (especially in the phrase "short frock") is also a child's dress or light overdress.

*A "frock" is a dense knitted overgarment worn by sailors and fishermen, as "guernsey frock", "jersey frock" (now usually simply guernsey and jersey).

The name "oil frock" has been used for a type of sailor's oilskin.

Related terms

A frock coat is a men's coat style of the nineteenth century, characterized by full skirts reaching to the lower thigh or knee. Despite the similarity in the name, the frock coat should be regarded as being a distinct garment quite separate from the frock. In the French language the frock coat is called 'une redingote', and so unlike the English language implies no immediate relationship to the frock which is called 'une fraque'. Indeed the modern French word for a tail coat is 'une frac' which better betrays the historical relationship between the tail coat and the frock. In construction the frock coat could scarcely be more different from the frock for unlike the latter it is usually double breasted, lacks any pockets, lacks a high collar, has V-shaped lapels, is closely fitted and is constructed with a waist seam.

ee also

* Frock coat


* Oxford English Dictionary
* Picken, Mary Brooks: "The Fashion Dictionary", Funk and Wagnalls, 1957
*Walker, George: "The Tailor's Masterpiece: All Kinds of Coats", 1838 revised edition, reprinted by RL Shep, 2001. ISBN 0-914046-28-4
*Waugh, Norah: "The Cut of Men's Clothes 1600-1900", Routledge, 1964. ISBN 0-87830-025-2

External links

* [ ApparelSearch glossary of textile and apparel terms]

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Look at other dictionaries:

  • Frock — (fr[o^]k), n. [F. froc a monk s cowl, coat, garment, LL. frocus, froccus, flocus, floccus, fr. L. floccus a flock of wool; hence orig., a flocky cloth or garment; cf. L. flaccus flabby, E. flaccid.] 1. A loose outer garment; especially, a gown… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • frock — [fräk] n. [ME frok < OFr froc, monk s habit (or ML froccus) < Frank * hrokk, cloak] 1. a robe worn by friars, monks, etc. 2. any of various other garments; specif., a) a tunic, mantle, or long coat formerly worn by men b) a smock or smock… …   English World dictionary

  • Frock — Frock, v. t. 1. To clothe in a frock. [1913 Webster] 2. To make a monk of. Cf. {Unfrock}. [1913 Webster] …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • Frock — (engl.) heißt das Obergewand des Ordensgeistlichen, insbesondere der Benediktiner. Der Frock wird über dem Skapulier angelegt. Mitunter wurde auch das Büßergewand mit langen weiten Ärmeln, das die Füße unbedeckt ließ, Frock genannt. Dazu wurde… …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Frock — A term that has been applied to many different garments. Originally it appears to have been a monastic garb. A coat of velvet made like a frock is said to have been worn by Henry VIII when he met Anne of Cleves. Cotgrave refers to porters and… …   Dictionary of the English textile terms

  • frock — [frɔk US fra:k] n [Date: 1300 1400; : French; Origin: froc] 1.) old fashioned a woman s or girl s dress ▪ a party frock 2.) a long loose piece of clothing worn by some Christian ↑monks …   Dictionary of contemporary English

  • frock — (n.) mid 14c., from O.Fr. froc a monk s habit (12c.), of unknown origin; perhaps from Frank. *hrok (Cf. O.H.G. hroc mantle, coat; O.N. rokkr, O.E. rocc, O.Fris. rokk, Ger. Rock coat ), from PIE root *rug to spin. Another theory traces it to M.L.… …   Etymology dictionary

  • frock — was originally a male garment, especially the mantle of a monk or priest. Discarded by men, the word came back into favour in the 19c as a synonym of gown or dress for women or girls. Fowler described it as a vogue word used ‘especially for a… …   Modern English usage

  • Frock — (engl.) hieß ursprünglich die Mönchskutte, dann der vorn schräg geschnittene englische Reitrock, der um die Mitte des 18. Jahrh. auf die Form der Röcke der Männer in Frankreich Einfluß gewann und zu ihrer Bezeichnung (frac, fraque) wohl auch den… …   Meyers Großes Konversations-Lexikon

  • frock — index clothe Burton s Legal Thesaurus. William C. Burton. 2006 …   Law dictionary

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