Tweed (cloth)

Tweed (cloth)

Tweed is a rough, unfinished woolen fabric, of a soft, open, flexible texture resembling cheviot or homespun, but more closely woven. It is made in either plain or twill weave and may have a check or herringbone pattern. Subdued, interesting color effects (heather mixtures) are obtained by twisting together differently coloured woolen strands into a two- or three-ply yarn.

Tweeds are desirable for informal outerwear, being moisture-resistant and very durable. Once worn in, tweeds are commonly worn for outdoor activities such as shooting and hunting, in both Ireland and the United Kingdom. "Lovat" is the name given to the green used in traditional Scottish tweed. In Ireland, tweed manufacturing is most associated with Magee of Donegal, a world-famous company based in County Donegal in the Province of Ulster.


The original name was "tweel", the Scots for 'twill', the cloth being woven in a twilled rather than a plain pattern. The current name came about almost by chance, according to a tale recounted in "Windsor Revisited", written by HRH The Duke of Windsor. About 1830, a London merchant received a letter from a Hawick firm about some "tweels". The London merchant misinterpreted the handwriting, understanding it to be a trade-name taken from the name of the River Tweed which flows through the Scottish Borders textile areas, subsequently the goods were advertised as Tweed, the name has remained so ever since. [Dunbar cites Scots philologist W. F. H. Nicolaisen's suggestion that this "too plausible" explanation may be folk etymology, noting a use of "twedlyne" in 1541, and suggesting "tweedling" in parallel to "twilling" as the origin of "tweed"; see John Telfer Dunbar, "The Costume of Scotland", p. 150.]

Tweed, also according to the Duke, was a favourite material of both his grandfather King Edward VII and his father, King George V.

Types of tweed

; Harris Tweed : A luxury cloth handwoven by the islanders on the Isles of Harris, Lewis, Uist and Barra in the Outer Hebrides of Scotland, using local wool. Formerly, Harris Tweed was also handspun and hand dyed with local natural dyes, especially lichens of the genus "Parmelia".; Donegal tweed : A handwoven tweed manufactured in County Donegal, Ireland. Like the Outer Hebrides, Donegal has for centuries been producing tweed from local materials. Sheep thrive in the hills and bogs of Donegal, and indigenous plants such as blackberries, fuchsia, gorse (whins), and moss provide dyes. Magee of Donegal, located in Donegal Town in Ulster, is the most famous tweed manufacturer in Ireland. ; Silk tweed : A fabric made of raw silk with flecks of colour typical of woollen tweeds.



*Dunbar, John Telfer: "The Costume of Scotland", London: Batsford, 1984, ISBN 0-7134-2534-2 1984 (paperback 1989, ISBN 0-7134-2535-0)

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Look at other dictionaries:

  • Tweed — may refer to:*Tweed (cloth), a type of fabric using the twill weave *Harris Tweed, a luxury twill, handwoven on the Isle of Harris, Outer Hebrides, Scotland *Tweed, Ontario, Canada *Tweed New Haven Regional Airport in New Haven, Connecticut (IATA …   Wikipedia

  • tweed — /tweed/, n. 1. a coarse wool cloth in a variety of weaves and colors, either hand spun and handwoven in Scotland or reproduced, often by machine, elsewhere. 2. tweeds, garments made of this cloth. 3. a paper having a rough surface, used esp. for… …   Universalium

  • Tweed — /tweed/, n. 1. William Marcy /mahr see/ ( Boss Tweed ), 1823 78, U.S. politician. 2. a river flowing E from S Scotland along part of the NE boundary of England into the North Sea. 97 mi. (156 km) long. 3. a male given name. * * * I Medium to… …   Universalium

  • tweed — [twi:d] n [U] [Date: 1800 1900; : Scottish English; Origin: tweel twill ; influenced by Tweed river in Scotland] 1.) rough ↑woollen cloth woven from threads of different colours, used mostly to make ↑jackets, suits, and coats ▪ a thick tweed suit …   Dictionary of contemporary English

  • tweed — [ twid ] noun 1. ) uncount a type of thick rough cloth made from wool of different colors: a tweed jacket 2. ) tweeds plural a suit made from tweed …   Usage of the words and phrases in modern English

  • tweed — ► NOUN 1) a rough surfaced woollen cloth, typically of mixed flecked colours. 2) (tweeds) clothes made of tweed. ORIGIN a misreading of tweel, Scots form of TWILL(Cf. ↑twilled), influenced by association with the river Tweed …   English terms dictionary

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  • tweed — [19] The story attached to the origin of tweed is that it resulted from a misreading of tweel, or perhaps more plausibly the past form tweeled, Scottish variants of twill or twilled, under the influence of the name of the Scottish river Tweed.… …   The Hutchinson dictionary of word origins

  • tweed — [19] The story attached to the origin of tweed is that it resulted from a misreading of tweel, or perhaps more plausibly the past form tweeled, Scottish variants of twill or twilled, under the influence of the name of the Scottish river Tweed.… …   Word origins

  • tweed — [[t]twi͟ːd[/t]] tweeds 1) N MASS Tweed is a thick woollen cloth, often woven from different coloured threads. ...shooting coats in tweed or rubberised cotton. husband s old tweed cap. 2) N PLURAL Someone who is wearing tweeds is wearing a… …   English dictionary

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