zib·​e·​line | \ ˈzi-bə-ˌlēn How to pronounce zibeline (audio) , -ˌlīn \
variants: or zibelline

Definition of zibeline

: a soft lustrous wool fabric with mohair, alpaca, or camel's hair

Did you know?

Though zibeline is woven from the hair of alpacas, camels, or Angora goats, its name actually traces back to a Slavic word for the sable, a small mammal related to the weasel. The Slavic term was adopted into Old Italian, and from there it passed to Middle French, then on to English in the late 1500s. English zibeline originally referred to the sable or its fur, but in the 19th century it developed a second sense, applying to a soft, smooth, slightly furry material woven from a mixture of animal hairs. It's especially suited to women's suits and coats, or, as a fashion columnist in the December 6, 1894 issue of Vogue observed, "Zibeline ... makes an exceedingly pretty, warm theatre cloak, not too fine to be crushed into the small one-chair space."

First Known Use of zibeline

1873, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for zibeline

zibeline (cloth), from earlier zibeline, noun, sable, sable fur, from Middle French, from Old Italian zibellino, of Slav origin; akin to Russian sobol' sable

Learn More About zibeline

Time Traveler for zibeline

Time Traveler

The first known use of zibeline was in 1873

See more words from the same year

Listen to Our Podcast About zibeline

Dictionary Entries Near zibeline




See More Nearby Entries 

Statistics for zibeline

Cite this Entry

“Zibeline.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/zibeline. Accessed 29 Jun. 2022.

Style: MLA
MLACheck Mark Icon ChicagoCheck Mark Icon APACheck Mark Icon Merriam-WebsterCheck Mark Icon


Test Your Vocabulary

Name That Food

  • a-light
  • Name these cookies!
True or False

Test your knowledge - and maybe learn something along the way.

Universal Daily Crossword

A daily challenge for crossword fanatics.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

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