AskDefine | Define toile

User Contributed Dictionary



From an earlier teile from tela.



fr-noun f
  1. fabric, cloth; canvas
  2. (spider's) web
  3. the Internet

Extensive Definition

Toile is a word that entered the English language around the 16th century from a French word meaning "cloth" or "web" — particularly cloth or canvas for painting on. The word toile in modern English has multiple meanings.

Test garment

A toile is a version of a garment made by fashion designers to test a pattern. They are usually made in cheap material, as multiple toiles may be made in the process of perfecting a design. Toiles may be called "muslins" in the United States.

Toile de Jouy

Toile de Jouy, sometimes abbreviated to simply "toile", is a type of decorating pattern consisting of a white or off-white background on which a repeated pattern depicting a fairly complex scene, generally of a pastoral theme such as (for example) a couple having a picnic by a lake. The pattern portion consists of a single colour, most often black, dark red, or blue. Greens and magenta toile patterns are less common but not unheard of. Toile is most associated with fabrics (curtains and upholstery in particular), though toile wallpaper is also popular.
Toile de Jouy originated in France in the late 1700s. In the French language, the phrase literally means "cloth from Jouy-en-Josas", a town of north-central France. Although it has been continuously produced since then, it experienced a marked upsurge in popularity around the year 2000. Previously only a decorating design, designers have been recently experimenting with toile-patterned apparel as well.


Middle English toile, from French toile ("cloth"), from Old French teile, from Latin tela, ("web"), from Proto-Indo-European *(s)teg ("to cover") (see list of Proto-Indo-European roots).


toile in French: Toile
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