CALICO, a general name given to plain cotton cloth. The word was spelt in various forms, including "calicut," which shows its derivation from the Indian city of Calicut or Kolikod, a seaport in the presidency of Madras, and one of the chief ports of intercourse with Europe in the 16th century, where cotton cloths were made. The name seems to have been applied to all kinds of cotton cloths imported from the East. In England it is now applied particularly to grey or bleached cotton cloth used for domestic purposes, and, generally, to any fairly heavy cotton cloth without a pattern. In the United States there is a special application to printed cloth "of a coarser quality than muslin." In England "printed calico" is a comprehensive term.
Note - this article incorporates content from Encyclopaedia Britannica, Eleventh Edition, (1910-1911)