ETYM Old Fren. carpite rug, soft of cloth, French carpette coarse packing cloth, rug (cf. Italian carpita rug, blanket), Late Lat. carpeta, carpita, woolly cloths, from Latin carpere to pluck, to card (wool); cf. Greek karpos fruit, Eng. Harvest.
1. A heavy woven or felted fabric, usually of wool, but also of cotton or of synthetic fibers; esp. a floor covering made to be laid over the floor and attached at the edges, as distinguished from a rug or mat.
2. A smooth soft covering resembling or suggesting a carpet.
1. To cover completely, as if with a carpet; as of flowers in meadows.
2. To cover with a carpet, as of rooms.
3. To form a carpet-like cover (over).
Thick textile fabric, generally made of wool, used for covering floors and stairs. There is a long tradition of fine handmade carpets in the Middle East, India, Pakistan, and China. Western carpets are machine-made. Carpets and rugs have also often been made in the home as a pastime, cross and tent stitch on canvas being widely used in the 18th and 19th centuries.
The earliest known carpets date from c. 500 BC and were excavated at Passypych in SE Siberia, but it was not until the later Middle Ages that carpets reached W Europe from Turkey. Persian carpets (see Islamic art), which reached a still unrivaled peak of artistry in the 15th and 16th centuries, were rare in Britain until the mid-19th century, reaching North America a little later. The subsequent demand led to a revival of organized carpet-making in Persia. Europe copied oriental technique, but developed Western designs: France produced beautiful work at the Savonnerie and Beauvais establishments under Louis XIV and Louis XV; and Exeter, Axminster, London, and Wilton became British carpet-making centers in the 18th century, though Kidderminster is the biggest center today. The first carpet factory in the US was established in Philadelphia 1791; it is still a large carpet-producing center.