1. A soft tufted cord traditionally of silk, cotton, or worsted used in embroidery or for fringing.
2. Fabric made of or resembling this cord, commonly used for bedspreads or rugs.
[French chenille, caterpillar, chenille, from Latin canīcula, diminutive of canis, dog; see kwon- in the Appendix of Indo-European roots.]
The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2018 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
Indo-European & Semitic Roots Appendices
Thousands of entries in the dictionary include etymologies that trace their origins back to reconstructed proto-languages. You can obtain more information about these forms in our online appendices:
The Indo-European appendix covers nearly half of the Indo-European roots that have left their mark on English words. A more complete treatment of Indo-European roots and the English words derived from them is available in our Dictionary of Indo-European Roots.