1. a light cotton fabric of various weaves, especially one in multicolored plaid or stripes, used for shirts, dresses, jackets, etc.
  2. a thin curtain fabric of a light, gauzelike weave with figures of heavier yarns.
  3. a large, brightly colored kerchief, of silk or cotton, often used for turbans.


  1. made of or resembling madras.


  1. former name of Chennai
  2. former name of Tamil Nadu.


    1. a strong fine cotton or silk fabric, usually with a woven stripe
    2. (as modifier)madras cotton
  1. something made of this, esp a scarf
  2. a medium-hot currychicken madras


  1. the former official name of Chennai
  2. the former name (until 1968) for the state of Tamil Nadu

adj.1833, in reference to the former Indian state of Madras (modern Chennai, a Tamil name), from which this type of bright-colored muslin cloth was exported. The British fort there dates from 1639; the name sometimes is said to be from Sanskrit mandra, a god of the underworld, but perhaps rather from Arabic madrasa “school” or Portuguese Madre (de Deus).

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