noun, plural cal·i·coes, cal·i·cos.

  1. a plain-woven cotton cloth printed with a figured pattern, usually on one side.
  2. British. plain white cotton cloth.
  3. an animal having a spotted or particolored coat.
  4. Obsolete. a figured cotton cloth from India.


  1. made of calico.
  2. resembling printed calico; spotted or mottled.

noun plural -coes or -cos

  1. a white or unbleached cotton fabric with no printed design
  2. mainly US a coarse printed cotton fabric
  3. (modifier) made of calico

1530s, kalyko, corruption of Calicut (modern Kozhikode), seaport on Malabar coast of India, where Europeans first obtained it. In 16c. it was second only to Goa among Indian commercial ports for European trade. Extended to animal colorings suggestive of printed calicos in 1807, originally of horses.

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