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Douglas Harper's Etymology Dictionary

type of heavy, coarse cloth, c.1400, from Old French toile "linen cloth, canvas" (see toil (n.2)). As a type of dress material, from 1794.


n. plain or simple twilled fabric


Toile is a fabric, from the French word meaning "linen cloth" or "canvas", particularly cloth or canvas for painting on. The word "toile" can refer to the fabric itself, a test garment (generally) sewn from the same material, or a type of repeated surface decoration (traditionally) printed on the same fabric. The term entered the English language around the 12th century.

Usage examples of "toile".

A prisoner of her thespian ambitions and his own impecunious situation, Mark felt increasingly like a bird in a gilded cage, albeit a gilded, distempered, decoupaged and beribboned cage lined with toile de Jouy.

The rooms were decorated with fruitwood and toile, his blue and hers pink, which made them laugh.

There found she her (as then it did betide)Sitting in couert shade of arbors sweet,After late weary toile, which she had trideIn saluage chase, to rest as seem'd her meet.

There did the warlike Maide her selfe repose,Vnder the wings of Isis all that night,And with sweete rest her heauy eyes did close,After that long daies toile and weary plight.

She will goe into England with me, and were it but the gayning of this one soule, I will think my time, toile, and present stay well spent.

I turned slightly to one side, tensing and relaxing my abdominalsobliqucs in decent toile, the rectus abdominis flattening almost to concavity.

He also spends a fortune on calico toiles, which are patterns for dresses made from calico that you tack together and can then try on a model to show a buyer from a department store before they order.

I have Avocado carpet in my dining room and Caramel toiles de Jouy on the walls.