[kahr-pit] /ˈkɑr pɪt/

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.
verb (used with object)
to cover or furnish with or as with a carpet.
Chiefly British. to reprimand.
on the carpet,


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

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

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