calico, plain weave cotton fabric in one or more colors. Calico, named for Calicut, India, where the fabric originated, was mentioned by historians before the Christian era and praised by early travelers for its fine texture and beautiful colors. Block-printed cottons from Calicut imported into England c.1630 were called calicuts. The name calico was soon applied to all Indian cottons having an equal number of warp and weft threads, then to all plain weave cottons.
The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.