Definition of carpet in English:

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Pronunciation: /ˈkɑːpɪt/


1A floor covering made from thick woven fabric: the house has fitted carpets throughout [mass noun]: the floor was covered with carpet
More example sentences
  • The team can fit grab-rails on staircases and in doorways, fix defective carpets or floor coverings, remove trailing wires and generally reduce trip hazards.
  • A reproduction of the original Brussels weave carpet covers the floors and a mixture of objects of different styles and epochs furnish the room.
  • Some insurers will not make deductions for carpets or floor coverings which are five years or even ten years old.
1.1A large rug, especially an oriental one: priceless Persian carpets
More example sentences
  • The curtains are silk and there are oriental rugs and carpets.
  • These are generally referred to as ‘carpet pages’ because it is thought that they were inspired by oriental woven carpets.
  • Only an oriental type of carpet with red background and a yellow border with little stick figures and such overlapped it.
rug, mat, matting, floor covering, runner, drugget
1.2A thick or soft expanse or layer of something: carpets of wood anemones and bluebells
More example sentences
  • But it's certainly made itself at home, forming thick carpets of shells on the seafloor, crowding out indigenous species.
  • Some range into Alaska and the Yukon, where thick carpets of morels grow in burns accessible only by helicopter, floatplane, or river raft.
  • Thick carpets of the alien species are crowding out oysters and other native species on the seafloor.
covering, blanket, layer, cover, coat, coating, sheet, film, overlay, cloak, mantle, canopy, bed, expanse;
1.3 informal, chiefly US A type of artificial playing surface on a tennis court or sports field: anybody’s batting average must benefit from being able to play on the carpet [as modifier]: the New York carpet courts
More example sentences
  • Down on the field, the artificial-turf carpet shines in the spring sun.
  • His eyes scanned the turf as if searching for answers buried deep beneath the rubberized carpet on Ford Field.
2 [with modifier] A slender moth marked with undulating bands of colour across the wings.
  • Many species in the family Geometridae, including the garden carpet (Xanthorhoe fluctuata).

verb (carpets, carpeting, carpeted)

[with object]
1Cover with carpet: the stairs were carpeted in a lovely shade of red
More example sentences
  • The dining room was carpeted, and there was a quiet buzz of conversation from the other guests.
  • The room was heavily carpeted and filled with plants and exercise equipment, including a treadmill, some kind of Nautilus, and free weights.
  • The room was carpeted and had two beds, each on opposite walls.
1.1Cover with a thick or soft expanse or layer of something: the meadows are carpeted with flowers
More example sentences
  • Some areas are carpeted with thick mats of water hyacinths - mats so dense that herons and blackbirds walk across them and no boat can shove through.
  • You can choose to follow the port side of the hull, which is carpeted with hard and soft corals sheltering dozens of fish species, or follow the stern round to the remnants of the rear deck.
  • The tiny clearing was carpeted with thick cloves, so Cora laid all of the garments out flat to dry and hoped to enjoy the green fragrance.
cover, coat, overlay, overspread, blanket, overlie, extend over, pave
2British informal Reprimand severely: the Chancellor of the Exchequer carpeted the bank bosses
More example sentences
  • The team's boss will carpet his midfield ace for his spat with an opponent in the heat of the Pride Park battle.
  • He has been carpeted too, for pulling the hair of the other team's goalkeeping coach.
  • There's a minister who today deserves to be cross-examined by his boss, carpeted, and possibly sacked.



on the carpet

informal Being severely reprimanded by someone in authority: we’ve all been on the carpet for the chances we took
Possibly from carpet in the sense 'table covering', referring to ‘the carpet of the council table’, before which one would be summoned for reprimand; or simply referring to the carpet in front of a superior's desk
More example sentences
  • But he must now work under a man who has not hesitated to call him on the carpet.
  • Unusually, he found himself on the carpet when he went back to basics to mark NHS Week.
  • He is on the carpet for charging £300 on his expenses for a kilt jacket and the hacks have gone potty.

sweep something under the carpet

Conceal or ignore a problem or difficulty in the hope that it will be forgotten: the Salvation Army feared the scheme was an attempt to sweep the problem under the carpet
More example sentences
  • You can't just ignore and sweep problems under the carpet and hope that they go away.
  • We must just sweep them under the carpet and hope everything still works.
  • They want to sweep the whole thing under the carpet and forget about it, but for Kevin that is not an option.
hide, conceal, keep hidden, suppress, keep quiet about, hush up, not disclose, not breathe a word of, censor, redact, gag, withhold, cover up, smother, stifle, muzzle, ban


Middle English (denoting a thick fabric used as a cover for a table or bed): from Old French carpite or medieval Latin carpita, from obsolete Italian carpita 'woollen counterpane', based on Latin carpere 'pluck, pull to pieces'.

  • Originally tables or beds, not floors, were covered by a carpet, and it is the early ‘tablecloth’ meaning that is behind the expression on the carpet, ‘being severely reprimanded by someone in authority’. The phrase originally had the meaning, ‘under consideration or discussion’, and referred to the covering of a council table, where official documents for discussion were placed. A matter up for discussion at a meeting was on the carpet, just as we might now say on the table. The modern sense of carpet is found when you sweep something under the carpet to hide or ignore a problem in the hope that it will be forgotten. The word carpet is from old Italian carpita ‘woollen bedspread’, which was based on Latin carpere ‘to pluck, pull to pieces’, the source of carp (Middle English), ‘to criticise’, and excerpt (mid 16th century) ‘pull bits out’. See also harvest

For editors and proofreaders

Line breaks: car¦pet

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