My wife and I are helping to direct a musical play at our town’s high school. One of the characters makes the following declaration:
“The Oxford English Dictionary. Plaid: a cloth of woven fabric – traditionally worn over the left shoulder. This highlander material is comprised of a series of colorful squares and cross-barred patterns, signifying family and home.”
I am skeptical of the OED origins of this definition. Would someone with OED access please corroborate or correct this definition?
I shouldn’t have put the word origins in there, it’s misleading. My question is whether or not this is the actual definition, word for word, that appears in the OED, and, if not, what does it actually say? If the character is going to quote the OED he should actually quote the OED. As it now appears, it doesn’t sound like a dictionary definition to me.
I found this at Google Books:
Concise Oxford English Dictionary: Luxury Edition
edited by Angus Stevenson, Maurice Waite
plaid/plad/ n. chequered or tartan twilled cloth a long piece of plaid worn over the shoulder as part of Scottish Highland dress.
DERIVATIVES plaided adj.
ORIGIN C16: from Sc. Gaelic ‘plaide‘ blanket, of unknown ultimate origin.
It is likely not as thorough as the full OED but it may be similar. Here is a link if you want to look at it.
Here’s what my OED says — (Compact Edition, 1971, printed 1981)
1. A long piece of twilled woolen cloth, usually having a chequered or tartan pattern, forming the outer article of Highland costume, and formerly worn in all parts of Scotland and the north of England, in cold or stormy weather, instead of a cloak or mantle. The Lowand ‘shepherd’s plaid’, of a black chequer pattern on white, is commonly called a MAUD.
2. The woolen cloth of which plaids are made; later applied to other fabrics with a tartan pattern.
3. A plaid or tartan pattern; a pattern of bars or stripes crossing each other at right angles.
4. A man wearing a plaid; a Highlander.
The Compact Edition is, I think, the full OED, but printed with four pages of the original optically reduced and printed on each single page, four-up. The Compact Edition came in two volumes, and came with its own magnifying glass so that you could easily read the reduced print. When I first got it, I could read it with my naked eyes. Now, wearing glasses, I still need the magnifying glass!
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