out of whole clothe [cloth]

sergiofreeman

Senior Member
Spanish
Hi Again!

Reading in a site I could not understand the phrase “ out of whole clothe” it seems to me idiomatic, please , would you tell me its meaning.

Context: Transactional agreements CREATE legal relationships out of whole clothe among strangers who rely on the Court System to adjust those legal relationships when disputes arise.

http://collaborativeconstruction.blogspot.com/2011_04_01_archive.html

Great to know you are always ready to help. I appreciate it very much indeed.
 
  • Fabulist

    Banned
    American English
    The phrase is "out of whole cloth." Cloth is a noun, meaning woven or knitted fabric from which garments are made. Clothe is a verb, meaning to put clothing on oneself or someone or something else.

    When articles of clothing were made one by one, a new one was made out of whole cloth, that is, out of a brand-new roll of fabric that had not previously been cut up to make other clothing. The new item of clothing also was not a simple alteration or recutting of an existing piece of clothing (raising the hem of a skirt, say).

    The relationships mentioned as being made of "whole cloth" (the "e" is someone's mistake) are entirely new. They are not based on any previous relationships. Because there is no previous relationship of trust or obligation, the parties to the new relationship rely on the courts to adjudicate disputes over the meaning of terms of the contract.
     

    PaulQ

    Banned
    UK
    English - England
    It is a spelling mistake. It should be

    Transactional agreements CREATE legal relationships out of whole clothe cloth among strangers who rely on the Court System to adjust those legal relationships when disputes arise.

    If you make something out of whole cloth, you have no seams and no weaknesses. If you make it out of pieces of cloth, it will not be strong.
     

    Cagey

    post mod (English Only / Latin)
    English - US
    My understanding of the idiom is like Fabulist's. Perhaps this is because we both speak American English. Our dictionary's definition of whole cloth includes:

    out of (the) whole cloth N. Amer. informal with no basis in fact or reality.
     

    sergiofreeman

    Senior Member
    Spanish
    I really appreciate your comments, I wonder if the idiomatic expression "from scratch" can be interchangeable with "out of whole cloth" in this context?
    Another question, would I say?:

    Our friendship is out of whole cloth, meaning it is strong and solid. Sound it idiomatic?
     

    lucas-sp

    Senior Member
    English - Californian
    "Out of whole cloth" does not mean "strong" or "original." It means "fictitious," "unreal," or even "purposefully deceptive."
     

    sergiofreeman

    Senior Member
    Spanish
    Hi Again , reffering to the context I posted, then it would means unreal , fictitious, so , it could be

    : Transactional agreements CREATE legal relationships out of whole clothe (or unreal , fictitious) among strangers who rely on the Court System to adjust those legal relationships when disputes arise.

    Great to know you are ready to help. I appreciate it.
     

    lucas-sp

    Senior Member
    English - Californian
    "Out of whole cloth" [...] means "fictitious," "unreal," or even "purposefully deceptive."
    Take your pick and substitute away! "Out of whole cloth" doesn't necessarily have to be pejorative, by the way, although it often is used that way.
     

    Fabulist

    Banned
    American English
    When applied to a falsehood or a false story, "out of whole cloth" means that the person made it up entirely, with no basis of fact to start with: there wasn't any truth at all to the story, which would be different from a story that was partly true but that had been embellished, or in which some specific facts had been changed for some reason (for instance, a person claiming to have gone to a certain place a certain time who had indeed gone there, but not on the date asserted).

    It doesn't look to me like the statement in the OP is referring to a complete falsehood, with no basis in fact, but rather to a new relationship without any basis in any previous interactions.
     
    Last edited:

    PaulQ

    Banned
    UK
    English - England
    http://alt-usage-english.org/excerpts/fxwholec.html
    So describing something as being made from whole cloth would mean that it had never existed as a garment before, and that it was something special, something wondrous -- one's Sunday best, or better.

    The phrase "made out of whole cloth" (and variants) [in American English] (my addition and emphasis) currently means "utterly without foundation in fact, completely fictitious." MWCD10 gives only this sense for "whole cloth" and dates it 1840.

    A Web search done by Michael Papadopoulos (papadop@peak.org) indicates (a) that the original British usage has not been left behind by the British and (b) that "the opposite US usage meaning 'completely fictitious' is neither the only US usage nor the dominant one."
    As the site is from New Zealand, BE, it appears that the meaning [something special, something wondrous ] is indeed the original one.
     

    Cagey

    post mod (English Only / Latin)
    English - US
    The sentence that follows the one we are discussing is of some use in interpreting the phrase:
    By contrast, integrated or collaborative agreements ARISE OUT OF trusted business relationships among parties who leverage advanced alternative dispute resolution mechanisms to adjust their legal relationships when disputes arise.
    This is from the Collaborative Construction Blog, which compares agreements "made of whole cloth" unfavorably with those that are made using its "collaborative" methods. "Made of whole cloth" has a meaning is much closer to the American sense "without foundation" than to the idea of something new and wondrous.

    I agree with Fabulist's interpretation.
     
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