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a long shawl or blanketlike outer wrap of woolen cloth, usually patterned in checks or tartan figures. Now a distinctive feature of the Highland costume, it was formerly worn in all parts of Scotland and in N England by both men and women. The early Celtic people excelled in dyeing and in Roman times wore gay, many-colored, checkered plaids, woven or sewed together in squares of different colors. Through the Middle Ages and until the 18th cent. the people of North Britain belted their plaids about them, the lower part forming the kilt, the upper part the cloak. A shepherd's plaid is of black-and-white check. A tartan plaid has crossbars of three or more colors combined in designs distinctive of the different Highland clans and serving a heraldic purpose. In modern usage plaid may signify merely pattern, as a plaid gingham.


See C. Hesketh, Tartans (1961); I. Grimble, Scottish Clans and Tartans (1982).

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A pattern created by regularly spaced bands at right angles to one another; the resultant checkered effects vary widely, depending on the relationship and intervals between lines and bands.
Illustrated Dictionary of Architecture Copyright © 2012, 2002, 1998 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc. All rights reserved


a. a crisscross weave or cloth
b. (as modifier): a plaid scarf
Collins Discovery Encyclopedia, 1st edition © HarperCollins Publishers 2005
References in periodicals archive ?
Since plaids can be very busy, the fewer seams and design lines that compete with the fabric lines, the better.
Many patterns indicate if plaids are suitable or not.
From the runways to city streets, the plaid is a key trend of the season.
Whether it's great gingham, herringbone or the classic tartan, plaid has been around for ages; and it looks like it's here to stay.
The following day Plaids national council will examine its options.
PLAID Cymru bosses last night kept alive Rhodri Morgans hopes of staying in power as First Minister of a coalition government.
Plaids job is to get both of them into the Assembly by 2011.
Yesterday Adam Price MP, Plaids director of elections, said the campaign for the 2011 election began as soon as the results came in last Friday morning.
Small-scale plaids work well for children and smaller sizes, and are also more slimming than large-scale plaids.
Note whether the pattern envelope states to "allow extra fabric to match plaids or stripes." Patterns usually don't list the exact amount of yardage needed for plaid fabric.
ONE of the dominant fashion trends this season was plaid. A multitude of tartans, checks and tweeds graced the autumn/winter catwalks of everyone from Chanel to Agnes B and the interior design world has followed suit, with Living Etc recently dedicating eight pages to all things plaid with a 21st Century twist.
The key to updating plaid and creating a fresh and modern look is with a bright accent colour.