Meaning of nankeen in English:


Pronunciation /nanˈkiːn/


mass noun
  • 1A yellowish cotton cloth.

    ‘a waistcoat and knee breeches of nankeen’
    • ‘Back in New Haven in July 1799 the cargo of Chinese goods (tea, nankeen, silk, and porcelain) realized more than $200,000 for the investors.’
    • ‘Suspended below this, clad in blue jacket, white waistcoat and nankeen pantaloons, and waving a silk French tricolour, stood Garnerin in a small basket.’
    • ‘A waitress neatly dressed in traditional Chinese nankeen jacket at Tianle Restaurant serves ganshao luyou, spicy perch.’
    • ‘The Oneida was absent seventeen months, and returned with a rich cargo of teas, silks, and nankeens, so profitable that it was talked of in the counting-rooms of all our ports.’
    • ‘By 1785 types of cotton fabric generally available included corduroys, jeans, nankeens, erminetts, thicksets, corded tabby and jeanette.’
    1. 1.1nankeens historical Trousers made of nankeen.
      ‘Gilded youths ride in the Bois, wearing yellow, brown or scarlet frockcoats and tight-fitting white nankeens.’
      • ‘Besides, a goat might butt Peregrine - tumble him, with his chaste nankeens, his sherry-colour body-coat, and his certainties into the scuppers.’
      • ‘Long-backed, thin, ‘lank as a leafless elm,’ a New England coach driver might look as though a high wind would blow him away, yet he would wear nankeens and low shoes in winter weather, and was not fragile but lusty.’
    2. 1.2 archaic The yellowish-buff colour of nankeen.


Early 18th century from the name of the city of Nanking (see Nanjing), where it was first made.