CRINOLINE (a Fr. word formed of the Lat. crinis, hair, and linum, thread), a stiffening material made of horse-hair and cotton or linen thread. Substitutes for this, such as the straw-like material used in making hat shapes, are also known by the same name. From the use of the material to expand ladies' skirts the term was applied, during the third quarter of the 19th century, when the fashion of wearing greatly expanded skirts was at its height, to the whalebone and steel hoops employed to support the skirts thus worn (see Costume). The term is also used of structures resembling these articles, especially of the framework of booms, spars and netting forming a protection for a warship against torpedo attack.
Note - this article incorporates content from Encyclopaedia Britannica, Eleventh Edition, (1910-1911)