whole cloth


Definition of whole cloth

: pure fabrication usually used in the phrase out of whole cloth the theory was created out of whole cloth

Examples of whole cloth in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web

But Zaitchik, a rising star in the Gotham new-musical circles, has penned a gorgeous new score created, like everything else in this show, from whole cloth. Chris Jones, chicagotribune.com, "Review: Wise 'Darling Grenadine’ at Lincolnshire undercut by its production, casting," 5 July 2019 But updating a problematic franchise is a lot harder than creating a new, empowering figure from whole cloth. Eliana Dockterman, Time, "Lashana Lynch Is Reportedly the Next 007. Here's How the New James Bond Movie Can Do Right by Her," 15 July 2019 To the Editors: In his review of Sean Wilentz’s No Property in Man, Nicholas Guyatt claims on three separate occasions that Abraham Lincoln and Frederick Douglass concocted an antislavery Constitution out of whole cloth in the 1850s. Nicholas Guyatt, The New York Review of Books, "‘No Property in Man’: An Exchange," 6 June 2019 The elven halls of Rivendell, the muddy Hobbit-holes of Bag End, and the twisted hellscapes of Mordor weren't created whole cloth—they were experienced. Darren Orf, Popular Mechanics, "'Tolkien': A Life Where Fantasy Met Reality," 3 May 2019 Political opponents and hired guns sling mud and cast aspersions, sometimes concocting things from whole cloth. Chad Pergram, Fox News, "Who wrote the op-ed? Will the government shut down? Denials pile up in Washington," 10 Sep. 2018 The Russians are not manufacturing an issue out of whole cloth — nationalism clearly has an authentic popular basis — but instead use their influence to magnify it. Jonathan Chait, Daily Intelligencer, "Britain Has a Russia Collusion Scandal Now. It Looks Exactly Like Trump’s.," 22 June 2018 Trump did not invent this language from whole cloth. Sarah Jones, The New Republic, "Why Tyrants Dehumanize the Powerless," 20 June 2018 The willingness to create a character from whole cloth to talk you up to the tabloids is the sort of thing that wouldn't occur to most people. Chris Cillizza, CNN, "This 1990 Donald Trump quote in Playboy magazine explains today perfectly," 31 May 2018

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

See More

First Known Use of whole cloth

1823, in the meaning defined above

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about whole cloth

Statistics for whole cloth

Last Updated

16 Aug 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for whole cloth

The first known use of whole cloth was in 1823

See more words from the same year

More from Merriam-Webster on whole cloth

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with whole cloth

Comments on whole cloth

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


to shake or wave menacingly

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Summer 2019 Words of the Day Quiz

  • a-bowl-of-peach-sorbet-with-cut-peaches-next-to-it
  • Which is a synonym of desideratum?
How Strong Is Your Vocabulary?

Test your vocabulary with our 10-question quiz!

Word Winder's CrossWinder

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!