General English

Cars & Driving

  • noun material made from textile or man-made fibres, used e.g. in the structure of tyre casings, for covering seats, etc.

Real Estate

  • noun the material from which something is constructed, especially a building, or the physical structure of something

Origin & History of “fabric”

Latin faber was a term for an artisan who worked with hard materials – a carpenter, e.g., or a smith (it probably came from a prehistoric Indo-European base meaning ‘fit things together’). From it was derived fabrica, which denoted the trade such a man followed, the place where he worked, or in general terms the product of his work – in the case of a carpenter, a ‘building’. And ‘building’ was the original sense of the word in English when it acquired it via French fabrique: ‘He had neuer studye in newe fabrykes ne buyldynges’, William Caxton, Golden Legend 1483. Remnants of the usage survive in the current sense ‘walls, roof, and floor of a building’. It was not until the mid 18th century that the underlying notion of ‘manufactured material’ gave rise to the word’s main present-day meaning ‘textile’. Derivatives include fabricate (18th c.), from Latin fabricāre, and forge.