drab

\ \ [16] Drab is a variant of the now obsolete form drap, which was borrowed from Old French drapcloth’ (source also of English drape, draper, and trappings). It was originally a noun meaning ‘cloth’ in English too, but the beginnings of its transition to the modern English adjective meaning ‘faded and dull’ can be seen in the 17th century. The word came to be used particularly for natural undyed cloth, of a dull yellowish-brown colour, and hence for the colour itself (an application best preserved in the olive-drab colour of American service uniforms). The figurative development to ‘dull and faded’ is a comparatively recent one, first recorded a little over a hundred years ago.
\ \ Cf.DRAPE, TRAPPINGS

Word origins - 2ed. . 2005.

Synonyms:

Look at other dictionaries:

  • drab — drab·bet; drab·ble; drab·bler; drab; drab·ler; drab·ly; drab·ness; …   English syllables

  • drab — [dræb] adj [Date: 1500 1600; Origin: drab (dull colored) cloth (16 18 centuries), from Old French drap cloth ] 1.) not bright in colour, especially in a way that stops you from feeling cheerful = ↑dull ▪ The walls were painted a drab green. 2.)… …   Dictionary of contemporary English

  • Drab — Drab, a. Of a color between gray and brown. n. A drab color. [1913 Webster] …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • Drab — (dr[a^]b), n. [AS. drabbe dregs, lees; akin to D. drab, drabbe, dregs, G. treber; for sense 1, cf. also Gael. drabag a slattern, drabach slovenly. Cf. {Draff}.] 1. A low, sluttish woman. King. [1913 Webster] 2. A lewd wench; a strumpet. Shak.… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • drab — [ dræb ] adjective not colorful or interesting: his drab brown clothes Their lives seem so drab …   Usage of the words and phrases in modern English

  • drab — drab1 [drab] n. [< OFr drap, cloth < VL drappus < IE * drop < base * der , to skin] 1. a kind of cloth, esp. a yellowish brown wool 2. a dull yellowish brown adj. drabber, drabbest 1. of a dull yellowish brown color …   English World dictionary

  • Drab — Drab, v. i. [imp. & p. p. {Drabbed}; p. pr. & vb. n. {Drabbing}.] To associate with strumpets; to wench. Beau. & Fl. [1913 Webster] …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • Drab — Drab, n. [F. drap cloth: LL. drappus, trapus, perh. orig., a firm, solid stuff, cf. F. draper to drape, also to full cloth; prob. of German origin; cf. Icel. drepa to beat, strike, AS. drepan, G. treffen; perh. akin to E. drub. Cf. {Drape},… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • Drab — A thick heavy and strong grey cloth, generally a twill weave. Tinted yarn of a dull brown shade is sometimes used. The term also applies to a 3 shaft drill dyed drab, and used for corset making and pocketing. A common make is 32 in. wide, 80 ends …   Dictionary of the English textile terms

  • drab — {{/stl 13}}{{stl 8}}rz. mos IIIa, Mc. drabbie {{/stl 8}}{{stl 7}} z dezaprobatą o wysokim, rosłym mężczyźnie, często podejrzewanym o niecne zamiary lub wzbudzającym swym wyglądem lęk; oprych : {{/stl 7}}{{stl 10}}Do przedziału wtargnął jakiś drab …   Langenscheidt Polski wyjaśnień

  • drab — sb., et, drab, ene, i sms. drabs , fx drabschef, drabsforsøg …   Dansk ordbog

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