From Middle English cloth, clath, from Old English clāþ (“cloth, clothes, covering, sail”), from Proto-Germanic *klaiþą (“garment”), from Proto-Indo-European *gleyt- (“to cling to, cleave, stick”). Cognate with Scots clath (“cloth”), North Frisian klaid (“dress, garment”), Saterland Frisian Klood (“dress, apparel”), West Frisian kleed (“cloth, article of clothing”), Dutch kleed (“robe, dress”), Low German kleed (“dress, garment”), German Kleid (“gown, dress”), Danish klæde (“cloth, dress”), Norwegian klede, Swedish kläde (“cloth”), Icelandic klæði (“cloth, dressing”), Old English clīþan (“to adhere, stick”). Compare Albanian ngjit (“to stick, attach, glue”).
cloth (countable and uncountable, plural cloths)
- (countable, uncountable) A woven fabric such as used in dressing, decorating, cleaning or other practical use.
- (countable) A piece of cloth used for a particular purpose.
- (metaphoric) Substance or essence; the whole of something complex.
- (metaphoric) Appearance; seeming.
- A form of attire that represents a particular profession or status.
- (in idioms) Priesthood, clergy.