AskDefine | Define buckram

Dictionary Definition

buckram adj : rigidly formal; "a starchy manner"; "the letter was stiff and formal"; "his prose has a buckram quality" [syn: starchy, stiff] n : a coarse cotton fabric stiffened with glue; used in bookbinding and to stiffen clothing v : stiffen with or as with buckram; "buckram the skirt"

User Contributed Dictionary

English

Noun

  1. A coarse cloth of linen or hemp, stiffened with size or glue, used in garments to keep them in the form intended, and for wrappers to cover merchandise.
    Quotations
    • 1882: Buckram was probably from the first a stiffened material employed for lining, often dyed. — James Edwin Thorold Rogers, A History of Agriculture and Prices in England, Volume 4, p. 557.
  2. A plant, also called ramson or wild garlic.

Extensive Definition

This article is about the cloth. For Buckrams (Allium ursinum), see Ramsons.
Buckram is a stiff cloth, made of cotton, and still occasionally linen, which is used to cover and protect books. Buckram can also be used to stiffen clothes. Modern buckrams have been stiffened by soaking in a substance, usually now pyroxylin, to fill the gaps between the fibres.
In the Middle Ages, "bokeram" was fine cotton cloth, not stiff. The etymology of the term is uncertain; the commonly mentioned derivation from Bokhara is, according to the Oxford English Dictionary, uncertain.
Millinery buckram is different from bookbinding buckram. It is impregnated with a starch, which allows it to be softened in water, pulled over a hat block, and left to dry into a hard shape. White buckram is most commonly used in hatmaking, though black is available as well. Millinery buckram comes in three weights: baby buckram (often used for children's and dolls' hats), single-ply buckram, and double buckram (also known as "theatrical crown").

References

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