a heavy fabric, commonly of wool or nylon, for covering floors.
a covering of this material.
any relatively soft surface or covering like a carpet:
They walked on the carpet of grass.
any of a number of airborne electronic devices for jamming radar.
a system of such devices.
to cover or furnish with or as with a carpet.
Chiefly British. to reprimand.
on the carpet,

before an authority or superior for an accounting of one’s actions or a reprimand:
He was called on the carpet again for his carelessness.
Chiefly British. under consideration or discussion.

Contemporary Examples

Do you have political beliefs that you decide to sweep under the carpet in order to do your show in a fair and balanced manner?
David Gregory, Off the Air Lloyd Grove January 6, 2010

As for disloyal Democrats, you need to yank the carpet out from under them.
Grow a Pair, Obama Larry Flynt July 29, 2009

We used Flor Fedora carpet tiles to demarcate the display areas, in place of heavy platforms.
The Curator’s Tale Ellen Lupton July 6, 2010

Instantly there flashes to mind the image of a carpet salesman in the Istanbul bazaar trying to wheedle me into his stall.
So, When Do We Become a Third World Nation? James Atlas December 1, 2008

The carpet is stained from the door to the window with red wine.
I Watched a Casino Kill Itself: The Awful Last Nights of Atlantic City’s Taj Mahal Olivia Nuzzi December 7, 2014

Historical Examples

The little fruit-top will not spin on a carpet or any rough, uneven surface.
Mother Nature’s Toy-Shop Lina Beard

Mr Dorrit stood rooted to the carpet, a statue of mystification.
Little Dorrit Charles Dickens

The carpet bagger when not fighting the pestiferous vermin in the Chickahominy swamps was pilfering.
The Broken Sword Dennison Worthington

There’s them that says, ‘Swape aisy and not be gettin’ the wools off the carpet.’
The Widow O’Callaghan’s Boys Gulielma Zollinger

Robert stood still, with his pale, shocked face bent upon the carpet.
The Portion of Labor Mary E. Wilkins Freeman


a heavy fabric for covering floors
(as modifier): a carpet sale

a covering like a carpet: a carpet of leaves
(informal) on the carpet

before authority to be reproved for misconduct or error
under consideration

verb (transitive) -pets, -peting, -peted
to cover with or as if with a carpet
(informal) to reprimand

late 13c., “coarse cloth;” mid-14c., “tablecloth, bedspread;” from Old French carpite “heavy decorated cloth, carpet,” from Medieval Latin or Old Italian carpita “thick woolen cloth,” probably from Latin carpere “to card, pluck,” probably so called because it was made from unraveled, shreded, “plucked” fabric; from PIE *kerp- “to gather, pluck, harvest” (see harvest (n.)). Meaning shifted 15c. to floor coverings.

From 16c.-19c. as an adjective often with a tinge of contempt, when used of men (e.g. carpet-knight, 1570s) by association with luxury, ladies’ boudoirs, and drawing rooms. On the carpet “summoned for reprimand” is 1900, U.S. colloquial (but cf. carpet (v.) “call (someone) to be reprimanded,” 1823, British servants’ slang). To sweep or push something under the carpet in the figurative sense is first recorded 1953.

“to cover with a carpet,” 1620s, from carpet (n.). Meaning “call to reprimand” is from 1840. Related: Carpeted; carpeting.

Related Terms

call someone on the carpet, on the carpet, red carpet, roll out the red carpet

call on the carpet
red carpet

also see under:


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