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Sep 17, 2007
This week's theme
Fabric words used metaphorically

This week's words

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with Anu Garg

We're advised not to wash our dirty linen in public. Our leaders seek to project a homespun image, even though they may be shrewd, dyed-in-the-wool politicians. Well, you may have cottoned on to the fact that today I'm talking about words related to fabrics.

Clothing is one of the three basic necessities in life and it's no wonder that our language has many idioms based on words related to cloths. This week's A.Word.A.Day is woven around words related to fabrics that are often used metaphorically.


(LIN-zee WOOL-zee) Pronunciation Sound Clip RealAudio

1. A strong, coarse fabric of wool and cotton or wool and linen.
2. An incongruous mix.

From Middle English linsey (linen, or from Lindsey, a village in Suffolk, UK) + woolsey (a rhyming compound of wool).

"This is no linsey-woolsey, tawdry romance: rather, it is the credible story of two people who must be together, whatever the enormous costs to them and those they love."
Valerie Ryan; An Affair To Remember; The Seattle Times; Jan 2, 2000.

See more usage examples of linsey-woolsey in Vocabulary.com's dictionary.


It is a very lonely life that a man leads, who becomes aware of truths before their times. -Thomas Brackett Reed, politician (18391902)


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