What is a fabric? Definition and examples

Fabric may either be a cloth that we produce by weaving or knitting or structures of a building. Some people produce fabrics by braiding, felting, or twisting. If I say “Termites are gradually eating away at the building’s fabric,” I am talking about its floor or the walls.

We may also use the word when talking about the basic system or structure of society. For example “The fabric of society” means its basic structure, including all the beliefs and customs within it.

If I say “I heard clanking noises in the car’s fabric,” I am talking about its body. We can also use this term when talking about an aircraft’s body.

OxfordDictionaries.com has the following definitions of the term:

“1. Cloth produced by weaving or knitting textile fibers. 2. The walls, floor, and roof of a building.”

“3. The body of a car or aircraft. 4. The basic structure of a society, culture, activity, etc.”


The word ‘fabric’ has many meanings. However, in every case, there is the notion of components that are weaved together, i.e., interlinked.

Fabric in IT

IT stands for Information Technology (computer science). In IT, the term means the same as platform or framework. It describes how different parts of something work together, i.e., how they work together to form a single entity.

We use the word as a metaphor to describe how computer components weave back and forth like a tightly-woven piece of cloth.

When talking about computers, we often use the term to describe data or SANs. The letters SANs stand for Storage Area Networks.

According to TechTarget:

“Increasingly, however, vendors are using the term to describe the servers, high-speed connections, and switches that make up a cloud computing platform.”

Fabric in geology

In geology, the term refers to the geometric and spatial configuration of all the elements that make up a rock.

In sedimentary geology, according to Wikipedia:

“The fabric developed depends on the depositional environment and can provide information on current directions at the time of deposition.”

In structural geology, fabrics provide information on the orientation as well as the magnitude of the strains that have affected a specific piece of deformed rock.

Fabric vs. textile vs. cloth

People commonly use the terms textiles and fabrics interchangeably. In most situations, the terms have the same meaning. However, there are subtle differences when specialists use the words.


Any material with interlacing fibers, including geotextiles and carpeting, are textiles.


Anything that we make through weaving, crocheting, or knitting that we can use to make further goods are fabrics. Therefore, we when talking about using materials for making garments, for example, we say ‘fabrics.’


In the vast majority of cases, the words cloth and fabric are interchangeable. However, when we process fabrics, we get cloth.

Cooling fabric

Scientists at Stanford’s SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory have created a cooling fabric. The material prevents the human body from getting too hot when the weather is warm.

This means that if you wore clothes made of this material, you would stay cool for longer. Therefore, in the summer months, you would not need to turn on the air conditioning so often.

According to the scientists, the new material makes people feel 3.6°F (2.7°C) cooler. Cooler, that is, than they would feel with normal clothing.