QUILT, properly a coverlet for a bed, consisting of a mass of feathers, down, wool or other soft substance, surrounded by an outer covering of linen, cloth, or other material. In its earlier uses the "quilt" was made thick, and served as a form of mattress. The term was also given to a stitched wadded lining for body armour, and also, when made stout and closely padded, to a substitute for armour. The word came into English from O. Fr. cuilte, coilte, or coute, mod. couette. This is derived from Lat. culcita or culcitra, a stuffed mattress or cushion. From the form culcitra came O. Fr. cotre or coutre, whence coutre pointe, Low Lat. culcita puncta, i.e. stitched or quilted cushion; this was corrupted to contre pointe, Eng. counterpoint, which in turn was changed to "counterpane" (as if from Lat. pannus, piece of cloth). Thus "counterpane," a coverlet for a bed, and "quilt," are by origin the same word.
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