• (RP) IPA: /ˈvɛlvɪt/
  • (GA) IPA: /ˈvɛlvət/


  1. A closely woven fabric (originally of silk, now also of cotton or man-made fibres) with a thick short pile on one side.
  2. Very fine fur, including the skin and fur on a deer's antlers.
  3. (rare) A female chinchilla; a sow.
  4. (slang) The drug dextromethorphan.
  5. (slang) Money acquired by gambling.
Translations Translations
  • French: duvet (on skin), velours (on antlers)
  • Russian: пух

velvet (velvets, present participle velveting; past and past participle velveted)

  1. To cover with velvet or with a covering of a similar texture.
    • 1834, Edward Price, Norway. Views of Wild Scenery: and Journal, London: Hamilton, Adams & Co., Part I, p. 16,
      Penmachno mill is situate where a stream has furrowed a deep channel, and velveted the rocks with the richest mosses […] .
    • 1963, "Childe Harold in New York," Time, 6 September, 1963, [,9171,870472,00.html]
      Last week the scaffolds were up in the hall once more. This time the back wall is to be velveted in absorbent fiber glass […]
  2. (cooking) To coat raw meat in starch, then in oil, preparatory to frying.
    • 1982, Barbara Tropp, The Modern Art of Chinese Cooking, Morrow, 1982, p. 137,
      Blanching cut and specially marinated chicken in oil or water prior to stir-frying is a technique common to Chinese restaurant kitchens. The 20-second bath tenderizes the chicken remarkably, hence the process has been dubbed "velveting" in English. Velveted chicken is half-cooked, will not stick to the pan, and needs almost no oil when stir-fried.
  3. To remove the velvet from a deer's antlers.
    • 2014, "Top genetic selection produces biggest antlers,", 12 July, 2014,
      Reacting to painkillers when velveted, Sovereign II was too sick to grow antlers last year, but has since recovered.
  4. (figurative, transitive) To soften; to mitigate.
  5. (of a cat's claws) to retract.


  1. Made of velvet.
  2. Soft and delicate, like velvet; velvety.
    • 1634 October 9 (first performance), [John Milton], H[enry] Lawes, editor, A Maske Presented at Ludlow Castle, 1634: […] [Comus], London: Printed [by Augustine Matthews] for Hvmphrey Robinson, […], published 1637, OCLC 228715864 ↗; reprinted as Comus: […] (Dodd, Mead & Company’s Facsimile Reprints of Rare Books; Literature Series; no. I), New York, N.Y.: Dodd, Mead & Company, 1903, OCLC 1113942837 ↗:
      The cowslip's velvet head.
  3. (politics) peaceful, carried out without violence; especially as pertaining to the peaceful breakup of Czechoslovakia.
    • 1995, Amin Saikal, William Maley, Russia in Search of Its Future, page 214
      What at the time of the initial agreement of Yeltsin, Shushkevich and Kravchuk to join together in a new 'Commonwealth of Independent States' had seemed like a reconstitution of the lands of ancient Rus, quickly turned out to be, in the words of the leading Russian-Ukrainian reformer Aleksandr Tsipko, merely a 'velvet disintegration'.
    • 2006, The Analyst: Central and Eastern European Review
      The disintegration always took place within internal borders, whether it was velvet, as in the case of the Czech Republic and Slovakia, or bloody, like Yugoslavia's still unfinished break-up.
    • 2011, David Gillies, Elections in Dangerous Places: Democracy and the Paradoxes of Peacebuilding, page 248:
      If the Sudanese can resolve the final steps in a velvet divorce and move in a more democratic direction, that will serve as a heartening "ideal model of change" […]
    • 2011, Javad Etaat quoted in Hooman Majd, The Ayatollahs' Democracy: An Iranian Challenge, page 39:
      “I was once invited to give a speech about the attempt to topple Iran's political system through a ‘velvet revolution,’ ” says Etaat in the debate, “but we all know that ‘velvet revolutions’ always occur in dictatorships.”
    • 2014, Dana H. Allin, NATO's Balkan Interventions, page 97
      There is such a thing as a velvet divorce: if Canada or Belgium were to split apart, the consequences would be unfortunate but manageable.

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