Word of the Week: Counterpane

CliffsNotes February 6, 2017


Word: Counterpane (noun)

Meaning: a quilt or coverlet for a bed

Synonyms: bedcover, blanket

A counterpane is a quilt or coverlet for your bed. In Herman Melville's Moby-Dick, Ishmael compares Queequeg's heavily tattooed arm to the patchwork quilt that covers the noble harpooner:

The counterpane was of patchwork, full of odd little parti-coloured squares and triangles; and this arm of his tattooed all over with an interminable Cretan labyrinth of a figure, no two parts of which were of one precise shade . . . this same arm of his, I say, looked for all the world like a strip of that same patchwork quilt.

Back to Top