What is the origin of ‘denim’?

When you hear the word ‘denim’, you immediately think of jeans. This sturdy cloth that both young and old wear nowadays was originally made in the town of ‘Nimes’ in France. I understand the name is pronounced like the word ‘neem’. The tough cloth material when it was introduced was not called ‘denim’ but ‘serge’; it was often referred to as ‘serge de Nimes’, meaning ‘serge of Nimes’. With the passage of time, the name of the cloth was shortened to ‘denim’. Sailors from ‘Genoa’, a seaport in Italy, made pants from denim. Since the trousers lasted for a very long time, they were affectionately called ‘Genoese’. The name was later shortened to ‘geans’, from which we get the word ‘jeans’.

 Source: ‘Know Your English’ ( The Hindu) – November 13, 2007

 

 

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