Posted by: Jack Henry | June 14, 2017

Editor’s Corner: Chintz and Chintzy

It’s been a couple of weeks since I returned from my spring vacation, but I still keep finding notes I emailed to myself, stubs of paper with topics on them, and other hints of things that I thought might make good Editor’s Corner articles.

One of those topics was the Hawaiian alphabet, but even though it’s only 13 letters (including the ‘okina character, which looks a little like an apostrophe), I can’t condense it enough for a quick read.

Another topic I found, however, was the word chintz. I’ve referred to something as chintzy before, meaning sort of shoddy, cheap, and gaudy. However, I saw the word chintz several times on my trip, and it was usually referring to fabric in gowns.

I’ve included some definitions, an etymology, and some samples for you to see!


chintz (noun)

1: a printed calico from India

2: a firm usually glazed cotton fabric of plain weave commonly with colorful printed designs generally in not less than five colors used for clothing and for interior decoration

chintzy (adjective)

1: decorated with or like chintz

2a: gaudy, cheap <a chintzy spa town in the Shakespeare country — J. P. O’Donnell>

b: stingy

Online Etymology Dictionary

chintz (noun)

1719, plural of chint (1610s), from Hindi chint, from Sanskrit chitra-s “clear, bright” (compare cheetah). The plural (the more common form of the word in commercial use) became regarded as singular by late 18c., and for unknown reason shifted -s to -z; perhaps after quartz. Disparaging sense, from the commonness of the fabric, is first recorded 1851 in George Eliot (in chintzy).

Chintz patterns:

Kara Church

Technical Editor, Advisory

Symitar Documentation Services

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s


%d bloggers like this: