cal·​i·​co | \ˈka-li-ˌkō \
plural calicoes or calicos

Definition of calico 

1a : cotton cloth imported from India

b British : a plain white cotton fabric that is heavier than muslin

c : any of various cheap cotton fabrics with figured patterns

2 : a blotched or spotted animal especially : one that is predominantly white with red and black patches

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Other Words from calico

calico adjective

Examples of calico in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web

But rare specimens can be bright blue, orange, yellow, calico, or even split-toned, like one found in Scarborough, Maine in July 2015. Eli Meixler, Time, "A 'One-in-100 Million' Cotton Candy-Colored Lobster Was Found Near Maine," 14 June 2018 In the winter months, shelling is very popular for seekers of calico clams, cockles, and smoothed sea glass. Amy Aumick,, "Explore Florida's Escambia County: Escape Pensacola's bustle on Perdido Key," 7 May 2018 The common hamster, as the wild species is known, is about the size and shape of a sweet potato, with calico fur, beady dark eyes and half-moon ears. Ben Crair, Smithsonian, "Why Are These Hamsters Cannibalizing Their Young?," 21 Feb. 2018 Some may even have a lovely Scottish brogue, and an ancient calico cat. M. Carrie Allan, sacbee, "Not too shoddy: A mug of hot toddy | The Sacramento Bee," 23 Jan. 2018 Noel, the calico kitten, was about to go home with her new forever mother. Ileana Najarro, Houston Chronicle, "Cats and their people take over George R. Brown for annual charity show," 6 Jan. 2018 Douglas Brenner: This is not some fantasy farmhouse that's more about calico ribbon than baling twine. Douglas Brenner, House Beautiful, "Simple Living Reigns Supreme at This 380-Acre Working Farm," 20 Sep. 2017 Potter’s paternal grandfather, Edmund Potter, ran the largest calico printing company in England and was the co-founder of the Manchester School of Design. Joy Lanzendorfer, Smithsonian, "How Beatrix Potter Invented Character Merchandising," 31 Jan. 2017 Zip is an 18-week-old Domestic Short Hair calico kitten. Susan Green,, "Portland-area pets for adoption Aug 29 (photos)," 29 Aug. 2017

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'calico.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of calico

1578, in the meaning defined at sense 1b

History and Etymology for calico

Calicut, India

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Time Traveler for calico

The first known use of calico was in 1578

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More Definitions for calico



English Language Learners Definition of calico

: a light, printed cotton cloth

: a heavy, plain white cotton cloth

: a cat that has white, brown, and black fur


cal·​i·​co | \ˈka-li-ˌkō\
plural calicoes or calicos

Kids Definition of calico

1 : cotton cloth especially with a colored pattern printed on one side

2 : a blotched or spotted animal (as a cat)

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Comments on calico

What made you want to look up calico? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


obstinately defiant of authority

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