• damask
  • audio pronunciation
  • \DAM-usk\
  • DEFINITION

noun

1
: a firm lustrous fabric (as of linen, cotton, silk, or rayon) made with flat patterns in a satin weave on a plain-woven ground on jacquard looms
2
: hard elastic steel ornamented with wavy patterns and used especially for sword blades; also : the characteristic markings of this steel
3
: a grayish red
  • EXAMPLES

The old chair was upholstered in a blue silk damask which was now faded and threadbare.

"The interior of the newly restored Bolshoi Theater was resplendent with sable and decolletage and claret-colored damask on Friday…." — From an article by Ellen Barry and Sophia Kishkovsky in The New York Times, October 29, 2011

  • DID YOU KNOW?

The English noun "damask" entered Middle English (as "damaske") from Medieval Latin "damascus," taken from the name of the city of Damascus, one of the world's oldest continuously inhabited cities. In contemporary English "damask" is applied to a lustrous fabric with a satin weave design, as well as to a type of steel (also called "Damascus steel") ornamented with a variegated surface and to a grayish red color associated with the damask rose. While the fabric, the steel, and the damask rose probably did not originate in Damascus, their long association with the ancient city has nevertheless impressed itself upon the English language.

Test Your Memory: What is the meaning of "tranche," our Word of the Day from May 10? The answer is ...

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