Cotton corduroy
Cotton and woolly corduroy

Corduroy is a textile composed of twisted fibers that, when woven, lie parallel (similar to twill) to one another to form the cloth's distinct pattern, a "cord." Modern corduroy is most commonly composed of tufted cords, sometimes exhibiting a channel (bare to the base fabric) between the tufts. Corduroy is, in essence, a ridged form of velvet.

As a fabric, corduroy is considered a durable cloth. Corduroy is found in the construction of trousers, jackets and shirts. The width of the cord is commonly referred to as the size of the "wale" (i.e. the number of ridges per inch).[1] The lower the "wale" number, the thicker the width of the wale (i.e., 4-wale is much thicker than 11-wale). Corduroy’s wale count per inch can vary from 1.5 to 21, although the traditional standard falls somewhere between 10 and 12. Wide wale is more commonly used in trousers; medium, narrow, and fine wale fabrics are usually found in garments worn above the waist.

Corduroy is made by weaving extra sets of fiber into the base fabric to form vertical ridges called wales. The wales are built so that clear lines can be seen when they are cut into pile. The primary types of corduroy are:

  • Standard wale: 11 wales/inch, and available in many colors. This cloth is sturdy and practical.
  • Pincord/pinwale/needlecord: Pincord is the finest cord around with a count at the upper end of the spectrum (above 16) and has a feel as soft as velveteen.
  • Pigment dyed/printed corduroy: The process of coloring or printing corduroy with pigment dyes. The dye is applied to the surface of the fabric, then the garment is cut and sewn. When washed during the final phase of the manufacturing process, the pigment dye washes out in an irregular way, creating a vintage look. The color of each garment becomes softer with each washing, and there is a subtle color variation from one to the next. No two are alike.



1756 advert mentioning "corderoys"

The Oxford English Dictionary records a variation of the word ie. "corderoys" going back to the 18th century, where it appears in an English patent from 1774.[2] An advert appears in the Gazetteer and London Daily Advertiser in June 1756 also mentions "corderoys". [3]

While the word "corduroy" looks as though it should have a French origin, as if derived from "corde du roi" ("cloth/cord of the king"), in fact there is no such phrase in French (in French, corduroy is called velours côtelé). The word, like the cloth, is of English origin, probably from cord plus the obsolete duroy, a coarse woollen fabric.[4][5]

The word "corduroy" can be used as a noun, a transitive verb, or an adjective. The noun refers to the fabric. The verb refers either to making a road across a swamp by laying down whole logs, or split logs round-face-up, or to the crossing of such a road: "to corduroy".[6]

Other names

Other names are often used for corduroy. Alternative names include: corded velveteen, elephant cord, pin cord, Manchester cloth and cords.[7]

In continental Europe, corduroy is commonly known simply as "Manchester" or "Cord".

Corduroy Appreciation Day

The dates of 1|11 and 11|11 have been dubbed as Corduroy Appreciation Day, because of their visual similarity to corduroy wales. The date of 11|11|11 is considered to be the "holiest" of Corduroy Appreciation days. [8]


  1. ^ Daniel Billett. "Wale". Retrieved 2007-11-11. 
  2. ^ "Corduroy", Oxford English Dictionary, Second edition, 1989, accessed 12 November 2011.
  3. ^ Gazetteer and London Daily Advertiser (London, England), Friday, June 4, 1756; Issue 4607. Page 4, Column 3
  4. ^ American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language (4th ed., 2000), p. 407, s.v. corduroy.
  5. ^ Oxford English Dictionary
  6. ^ Oxford English Dictionary
  7. ^ Fashion Fabrics, Velvet in Fashion 2005-2006, By Pauline Weston Thomas
  8. ^ Corduroy Appreciation Club Seeks NYC Child Turning 11 on November 11, as Their 'Messiah', by Jen Doll

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Look at other dictionaries:

  • Corduroy — Saltar a navegación, búsqueda Para otros usos de este término, véase Corduroy (desambiguación). «Corduroy» Canción de Pearl Jam Álbum Vitalogy …   Wikipedia Español

  • Corduroy — Cor du*roy (k[^o]r d[ u]*roi or k[^o]r d[ u]*roi ), n. [Prob. for F. corde du roi king s cord.] 1. A sort of cotton velveteen, having the surface raised in ridges. [1913 Webster] 2. pl. Trousers or breeches of corduroy. [1913 Webster] {Corduroy… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • Corduroy — (Knit Goods) A term that is commonly known as 2 & 2 rib, or two ribs alternating on face and back of children s stockings. CORDUROY A strong cotton cloth used for suitings. It is cut pile fabric, and has hard wearing qualities. The weave has a… …   Dictionary of the English textile terms

  • corduroy — [kôr′də roi΄] n. [prob. < cord + obs. duroy, a coarse fabric formerly produced in England: hence, corded duroy] 1. a heavy cotton fabric with a piled, velvety surface, ribbed vertically 2. [pl.] trousers made of this fabric adj. 1. made of, or …   English World dictionary

  • Corduroy — Cor du*roy , v. t. To form of logs laid side by side. Roads were corduroyed. Gen. W. T. Sherman. [1913 Webster] …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • corduroy — 1780, probably from CORD (Cf. cord) + obsolete 17c. duroy, name of a coarse fabric made in England, of unknown origin. Folk etymology is from *corde du roi the king s cord, but this is not attested in French, where the term for the cloth was… …   Etymology dictionary

  • corduroy — ► NOUN ▪ a thick cotton fabric with velvety ribs. ORIGIN probably from CORD(Cf. ↑cording) + duroy, denoting a former kind of lightweight worsted …   English terms dictionary

  • corduroy — /kawr deuh roy , kawr deuh roy /, n. 1. a cotton filling pile fabric with lengthwise cords or ridges. 2. corduroys, trousers made of this fabric. adj. 3. of, pertaining to, or resembling corduroy. 4. constructed of logs laid together transversely …   Universalium

  • corduroy — [[t]kɔ͟ː(r)dərɔɪ[/t]] corduroys 1) N UNCOUNT Corduroy is thick cotton cloth with parallel raised lines on the outside. ...a corduroy jacket. 2) N PLURAL Corduroys are trousers made out of corduroy …   English dictionary

  • corduroy — I. noun (plural roys) Etymology: origin unknown Date: circa 1791 1. a. plural trousers of corduroy fabric b. a durable usually cotton pile fabric with vertical ribs or wales 2. logs laid side by side transversely to make a road surface II …   New Collegiate Dictionary

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