Posted by ESC on November 19, 2001

In Reply to: Afghan posted by Dana on November 19, 2001

: Why are throw blankets called "afghans"?

AFGHAN - "It's curious, but the way the name 'afghan' came to be applied to the familiar knitted woolen blanket has not previously been documented in any standard reference book. That it is derived from 'Afghan,' a native or product of Afghanistan, is obvious, but it does seem odd that a name coming from such a faraway corner of the world, deep in Asian, should have been used for so long for such a homely item typically found in the American cedar chest. One characteristic of the afghan is that, in the words of the 'Modern Textile Dictionary,' it is made with a 'series of stripes, zigzag effects, or squares, varying in size and vivid colorings.' That characteristic is shared, of course, with afghan rugs, which also feature geometric patterns and vivid colors. So the likelihood is that the 'afghan' blanket was named for its resemblance to these Oriental rugs, which enjoyed such a great vogue in America during the latter part of the Victorian era." From Morris Dictionary of Word and Phrase Origins by William and Mary Morris (HarperCollins, New York, 1977, 1988).