cloth


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Related to cloth: man of the cloth

back-cloth star

An actor or performer who takes the focus of the audience away from the other actors on stage by positioning him- or herself in such a way that the other actors' backs are to the audience. Everyone said after the show that his performance was riveting, but to be honest, I think he's just a back-cloth star. He made it so he was the only one we could ever see!
See also: star

cut out of whole cloth

Completely fictional or utterly false; totally made up. A reference to tailors who would falsely advertise garments being "cut out of whole cloth," when in reality, they were pieced together from different cuts. To be honest, I don't believe a word he says—it sounds cut out of whole cloth to me.
See also: cloth, cut, of, out, whole

made out of whole cloth

Completely fictional or utterly false; totally made up. A reference to tailors who would falsely advertise garments being "cut out of whole cloth," when in reality, they were pieced together from different cuts. To be honest, I don't believe a word he says—it sounds made out of whole cloth to me.
See also: cloth, made, of, out, whole

cut from whole cloth

Completely fictional or utterly false; totally made up. A reference to tailors who would falsely advertise garments being "cut out of whole cloth," when in reality, they were pieced together from different cuts. To be honest, I don't believe a word he says—it sounds like it's cut from whole cloth to me.
See also: cloth, cut, whole

made from whole cloth

Completely fictional or utterly false; totally made up. A reference to tailors who would falsely advertise garments being "cut out of whole cloth," when in reality, they were pieced together from different cuts. To be honest, I don't believe a word he says—it sounds like it's made from whole cloth to me.
See also: cloth, made, whole

be touching cloth

semi-vulgar slang To have a very urgent or desperate need to defecate. (Refers jokingly to one's feces protruding into one's underpants.) Boy, it's a good thing we got home when we did—I was touching cloth on the way here!
See also: cloth, touching

whole cloth

Make-believe; invention. Usually appears in the phrase "out of whole cloth." I broke curfew staying out too late with my boyfriend, but luckily I was able to make an excuse out of whole cloth about being at the library. When my sister refused to go to sleep without a bedtime story, I pulled a tale about princesses together out of whole cloth.
See also: cloth, whole

man of the cloth

A priest or clergyman. Ever since he was young, John knew he wanted to become a man of the cloth.
See also: cloth, man, of

cut from the same cloth

 and made from the same mold
Fig. sharing a lot of similarities; seeming to have been created, reared, or fashioned in the same way. She and her brother are cut from the same cloth. They both tell lies all the time. Father and son are made from the same mold and even sound alike on the telephone.
See also: cloth, cut, same

cut one's coat according to one's cloth

 and cut one's coat to suit one's cloth
Prov. to plan one's aims and activities in line with one's resources and circumstances. We would like a bigger house, but we must cut our coat according to our cloth. They can't afford a vacation abroad—they have to cut their coat according to their cloth.
See also: accord, cloth, coat, cut

make something up out of whole cloth

Fig. to fabricate a story or a lie. That's a lie. You just made that up out of whole cloth. That's a lie. You just made up that story out of whole cloth.
See also: cloth, make, of, out, up, whole

man of the cloth

Fig. a clergyman. Father Brown is a man of the cloth and is welcome at our table for dinner every Sunday.
See also: cloth, man, of

cut from the same cloth

to be very similar These new songs are clearly cut from the same cloth as the band's earlier tunes.
See also: cloth, cut, same

(made up) out of whole cloth

to be completely invented The whole article was a fairy tale, made up out of whole cloth.
See also: cloth, of, out, whole

cloth ears

  (British old-fashioned, humorous)
something you call someone who has not heard something you said Hey, cloth ears, I asked if you wanted a drink.
See also: cloth, ear

take the cloth

  (formal)
to become a priest He took the cloth in 1945.
See cut coat according to cloth
See also: cloth, take

be cut from the same cloth

to be very similar Despite differences in age and in experience, these two great writers are cut from the same cloth.
See also: cloth, cut, same

cut your coat according to your cloth

  also cut your cloth according to your means
to only buy what you have enough money to pay for Of course we'd love a huge expensive house, but you have to cut your coat according to your cloth.
See also: accord, cloth, coat, cut

a man of the cloth

  (formal)
a priest Are you a man of the cloth?
See also: cloth, man, of

sackcloth and ashes

  (slightly formal)
if you wear sackcloth and ashes, you show by your behaviour that you are very sorry for something you did wrong
Usage notes: In the past, clothes made of sackcloth (= a rough cloth) were worn by the Jews in religious activities to show that they were sad or sorry for the things they had done wrong.
I've already apologized. How long must I wear sackcloth and ashes before you'll forgive me?
See also: and, ash, sackcloth

make something up out of whole cloth

  (American) also invent something out of whole cloth (American)
if a story or excuse is made up out of whole cloth, it is not true Yet the explanation was too strange for Joan to have made up out of whole cloth.
See also: cloth, make, of, out, up, whole

out of whole cloth

From pure fabrication or fiction. This expression is often put as cut (or made) out of whole cloth, as in That story was cut out of whole cloth. In the 15th century this expression referred to something fabricated from cloth that ran the full length of the loom. However, by the 1800s it was common practice for tailors to deceive their customers and, instead of using whole cloth, actually make garments from pieced goods. Their advertising slogan, "cut out of whole cloth," thus came to mean "made up, false."
See also: cloth, of, out, whole

sackcloth and ashes

Mourning or penitence, as in What I did to Julie's child was terrible, and I've been in sackcloth and ashes ever since . This term refers to the ancient Hebrew custom of indicating humility before God by wearing a coarse cloth, normally used to make sacks, and dusting oneself with ashes. In English it appeared in William Tyndale's 1526 biblical translations (Matthew 11:21), "They [the cities Tyre and Sidon] had repented long ago in sackcloth and ashes."
See also: and, ash, sackcloth

in cloth

With a clothbound binding; as a clothbound book.
See also: cloth

cut from the same cloth

Similar or the same.
See also: cloth, cut, same

out of whole cloth

1. By means of the imagination or as a fabrication: "Some of her stories she created out of whole cloth; for others she began with an incident Idella had described and then reimagined it into a full story" (Kate Walbert).
2. Out of nothing; from the very start: "The idea of creating out of whole cloth an intelligence network in a country like that is daunting" (Jack Reed).
See also: cloth, of, out, whole

out of whole cloth

Fictitious. The most convincing explanation for this phrase deals with Middle Ages tailors who wove fabric on large looms, then cut the pieces into suits and dresses. Garments made from a single bolt of cloth were far preferable to ones made from leftover pieces. Dishonest tailors tried to convince customers that their clothes were made of whole cloth. When their lie was found out enough times, “whole cloth” came to stand for a fabrication, the meaning that survives to this day.
See also: cloth, of, out, whole
References in classic literature ?
The Emperor soon sent another worthy statesman to see how the weaving was getting on, and whether the cloth would soon be finished.
For four days the bano was filled with people, for which reason the reed delayed its appearance for four days, but at the end of that time, when the bano was, as it generally was, empty, it appeared with the cloth so bulky that it promised a happy birth.
As, with shaking fingers, he knotted up the torn cloth about his neck he laid bare an amulet of the kind called a keeper-up of the heart.
With courtly adroitness de Beausset half turned and without turning his back to the Emperor retired two steps, twitching off the cloth at the same time, and said:
The men wore loin cloths of the hide of some shaggy beast, long ends of which depended before and behind nearly to the ground.
I doubt not that if I set you down in my shop at Norwich you might scarce tell fustian from falding, and know little difference between the velvet of Genoa and the three-piled cloth of Bruges.
Ordonez stood forth with the sword and the scarlet cloth.
All the people throughout the city had heard of the wonderful property the cloth was to possess; and all were anxious to learn how wise, or how ignorant, their neighbors might prove to be.
With the very first pennies I make, I'll buy Father a new cloth coat.
And the lady, to give the devil his due, is a very good sort of lady, and loves the cloth, and is always desirous to do strict justice to it; for she hath begged off many a poor soldier, and, by her good-will, would never have any of them punished.
I tore up some paper, and put half a dozen bits on my table one night, and the cloth over them as usual.
He would have covered the picture, but he stopped, holding the cloth in his hand, and, smiling blissfully, gazed a long while at the figure of John.
She flung wild glances, like those of an entrapped animal, up and down the big whitewashed room that panted with heat and that was thickly humid with the steam that sizzled from the damp cloth under the irons of the many ironers.
She then glanced all round her, and taking a white linen cloth or handkerchief from under her cloak, turned aside towards the brook.
I've brought away an address," he said, pulling out of his pocket without haste a singed rag of dark blue cloth.