phrases, sayings, idioms and expressions at

Phrases, Sayings and Idioms Home > Discussion Forum

Cutting remark

Posted by Henry on February 27, 2004

In Reply to: Cut from different cloth posted by Marcia Gruver on February 26, 2004

: I need the date and origin of the phrase "he/she is cut from different cloth."

Cut from a different cloth now means different. It is as likely to mean superior as inferior. Here is an extract from the archives on this site. Perhaps it offers an origin for the phrase.
CUT OUT OF WHOLE CLOTH - "Wholly false; without foundation of truth. Back in the fifteenth century, 'whole cloth' was used synonymously with 'broad cloth,' that is, cloth that ran the full width of the loom. The term dropped into disuse along in the eighteenth century, except in the figurative sense. In early use, the phrase retained much of the literal meaning, a thing was fabricated out of the full amount or extent of that which composed it.But by the nineteenth century it would appear that tailors or others who made garments were pulling the wool over the eyes of their customers, for, especially in the United States, the expression came to have just the OPPOSITE meaning. Instead of using whole material, as they advertised, they were really using patched or pieced goods, or, it might be, cloth which had been falsely stretched to appear to be of full width." From "A Hog on Ice" by Charles Earle Funke (1948, Harper & Row)