AskDefine | Define lace

Dictionary Definition



1 a cord that is drawn through eyelets or around hooks in order to draw together two edges (as of a shoe or garment) [syn: lacing]
2 a delicate decorative fabric woven in an open web of symmetrical patterns


1 spin or twist together so as to form a cord; "intertwine the ribbons"; "Twine the threads into a rope" [syn: intertwine, twine, entwine, enlace, interlace] [ant: untwine]
2 make by braiding or interlacing; "lace a tablecloth" [syn: braid, plait]
3 do lacework; "The Flemish women were lacing in front of the cathedral"
4 draw through eyes or holes; "lace the shoelaces" [syn: lace up]
5 add alcohol beverages [syn: spike, fortify]

User Contributed Dictionary



Old French las > Vulgar Latin *laceum > Latin laqueus



lace (countable and uncountable; plural laces)
  1. A light fabric containing patterns of holes, usually built up from a single thread.
  2. A cord or ribbon passed through eyelets in a shoe or garment, pulled tight and tied to fasten the shoe or garment firmly.



cord for fastening a shoe or garment


  1. To fasten (something) with laces.
  2. To add alcohol, poison, a drug or anything else potentially harmful to (food or drink).
  3. To interweave items. (lacing one's fingers together)
  4. To interweave the spokes of a bicycle wheel


fasten with laces
add something harmful to



  1. wearily



  1. Form of First-person singular present subjunctive, lacer
  2. Form of Third-person singular present subjunctive, lacer
  3. Form of Second-person singular imperative, lacer

Extensive Definition

Lace is an openwork fabric, patterned with open holes in the work, made by machine or by hand. The holes can be formed via removal of threads or cloth from a previously woven fabric, but more often open spaces are created as part of the lace fabric. Lace-making is an ancient craft. True lace was not made until the late 15th and early 16th centuries. A true lace is created when a thread is looped, twisted or braided to other threads independently from a backing fabric.
Originally linen, silk, gold, or silver threads were used. Now lace is often made with cotton thread. Manufactured lace may be made of synthetic fiber. A few modern artists make lace with a fine copper or silver wire instead of thread.

Types of Lace

There are many types of lace, defined by how they are made. These include:
  • Needle lace; made using a needle and thread. This is the most flexible of the lace-making arts. While some types can be made more quickly than the finest of bobbin laces, others are very time-consuming. Some purists regard Needle lace as the height of lace-making. The finest antique needle laces were made from a very fine thread that is not manufactured today.
  • Cutwork, or whitework; lace constructed by removing threads from a woven background, and the remaining threads wrapped or filled with embroidery.
  • Bobbin Lace; as the name suggests, made with bobbins and a pillow. The bobbins, turned from wood, bone or plastic, hold threads which are woven together and held in place with pins stuck in the pattern on the pillow. The pillow contains straw, preferably oat straw or other materials such as sawdust, insulation styrofoam or ethafoam. Also known as Bone-lace.
  • Tape lace; makes the tape in the lace as it is worked, or uses a machine- or hand-made textile strip formed into a design, then joined and embellished with needle or bobbin lace.
  • Knitted lace; including Shetland lace, such as the "wedding ring shawl", a lace shawl so fine that it can be pulled through a wedding ring.
  • Machine-made; any style of lace created or replicated using mechanical means.

History of Lace

References to lace are made in the Bible in the Book of Exodus (Exodus 28:28, King James Version). Lace was used by clergy of the early Catholic Church as part of vestments in religious ceremonies, but did not come into widespread use until the 16th century. The popularity of Lace increased rapidly and the cottage industry of lace making spread throughout Europe to where most European countries. Countries like Belgium, Russia, Ireland, Spain, Hungary, Malta and others all have their own unique artistic heritage expressed through lace.
In North America in the 19th century, lace making was spread to the Native American tribes through missionaries.


External links

lace in Bulgarian: Дантела
lace in Czech: Krajka
lace in German: Spitze (Stoff)
lace in Modern Greek (1453-): Δαντέλα
lace in Spanish: Encaje
lace in French: Dentelle
lace in Korean: 레이스
lace in Italian: Merletto
lace in Dutch: Kant (textiel)
lace in Japanese: レース編み
lace in Polish: Koronka (sztuka)
lace in Portuguese: Renda (tecido)
lace in Russian: Кружево
lace in Simple English: Lace
lace in Finnish: Pitsi
lace in Swedish: Spetsar

Synonyms, Antonyms and Related Words

Brussels point, Roman lace, Shetland lace, Venetian point, adulterate, arabesque, assail, assault, attack, band, bandage, basketry, basketwork, bastardize, baste, bastinado, beat, belabor, belt, bend, berate, bind, bind up, birch, brace, braid, buffet, bundle, cancellation, cane, castigate, chain, cinch, cloth, club, contaminate, cord, corrupt, cowhide, cross-hatching, crossing-out, cudgel, cut, debase, denaturalize, denature, dilute, do up, doctor, doctor up, drapery, drub, enlace, entwine, etoffe, fabric, fall on, fall upon, felt, filet lace, filigree, fillet, flagellate, flail, flog, fortify, fret, fretwork, fustigate, gird, girdle, girt, girth, give a whipping, give the stick, goods, grate, grating, grid, gridiron, grille, grillwork, hachure, hatching, horsewhip, interknit, interlace, interlacement, intertexture, intertie, intertissue, intertwine, intertwinement, intertwist, interweave, intort, knit, knout, lacery, lacework, lacing, lash, lattice, latticework, lay into, lay on, leash, light into, loom, loop, mat, material, mesh, meshes, meshwork, napery, needlepoint, net, netting, network, noose, openwork, pistol-whip, plait, pleach, plexure, plexus, point, pollute, pommel, pounce on, pounce upon, pummel, raddle, rag, rawhide, reticle, reticulation, reticule, reticulum, revile, riddle, rope, scold, scourge, screen, screening, set upon, shoelace, shoestring, sieve, silk, smite, spank, spike, splice, strap, strengthen, string, stripe, stuff, swaddle, swathe, swinge, switch, tamper with, tatting, textile, textile fabric, texture, thong, thrash, thread, thump, tie, tie up, tissu, tissue, tracery, trellis, trelliswork, trounce, truncheon, truss, twill, twine, twist, upbraid, wallop, water, water down, wattle, weave, weaving, web, webbing, webwork, weft, whale, whip, whop, wicker, wickerwork, wire, woof, wool, wrap, wrap up, wreathe
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