whole cloth

whole cloth (uncountable)

  1. A newly made textile which has not yet been cut.
  2. (figurative, used attributively or preceded by various prepositions) The fictitious material from which complete fabrications, lies with no basis in truth, are made.
    Mr. Doe's account of the accident was made from whole cloth.
    • 1917, National Geographic, What Great Britain is Doing, by Sydney Brooks
      All those tales that came clicking over the wireless of the capture of huge stores of grain and oil were fables out of whole cloth.
  3. Something made completely new, with no history, and not based on anything else.
    The plans for the widget were drawn from whole cloth.
    • 1883, Mark Twain, Life on the Mississippi, chapter 27:
      And, mind you, emotions are among the toughest things in the world to manufacture out of whole cloth; it is easier to manufacture seven facts than one emotion.
    • 1852, The Eighteenth Brumaire of Louis Napoleon, by Karl Marx, chapter I (translated by Daniel De Leon):
      Man makes his own history, but he does not make it out of the whole cloth; he does not make it out of conditions chosen by himself, but out of such as he finds close at hand.
    • 1988, R. v. Morgentaler, a case heard in the Supreme Court of Canada
      The decisions made by judges, however, and the interpretations that they advance or accept must be plausibly inferable from something in the Charter. It is not for the courts to manufacture a constitutional right out of whole cloth.
Synonyms Translations
  • German: frei erfunden

whole cloth (not comparable)

  1. (idiomatic) in full extent, wholesale, entirely, without changes or additions
  • Russian: целико́м

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