Toile vs toil

Photo of author


Toile may describe a translucent fabric made from linen or cotton with a repeating pattern of decoration printed on it. The decoration is usually a traditional pattern rendered in a single color. Toile fabric may be used for clothing, sheets, wall coverings or upholstery. Toile may also refer to a practice garment rendered in an inexpensive fabric to facilitate experimentation and alterations. Toile is a borrowed French word, originally meaning cloth or web.

Toil describes work that is hard, incessant, exhausting. Toil may also mean to move slowly and painfully. Toil may be used as a noun, adverb or intransitive verb, which is a verb that does not take an object. Related words are toils, toiled, toiling, toiler. The word toil is derived from the Old French word toeillier, which means to make dirty, to drag around.


The French term “toile de jouy” translates as the “cloth from Jouy-en-Josas,” a chintz-producing town in the south-west suburbs of Paris, and it refers to a specific style of textile that was used for both clothing and furnishings. (The Japan Times)

Lounge chairs can be upholstered in the toile fabric used for the drapery. (The Palm Beach Daily News)

When remodeling, she decided to enhance the bathroom’s 1920s look with a new pedestal-style sink in white and added black-and-white toile fabric accents. (The Fort Wayne Journal Gazette)

David claimed he and his brothers, Freddie and Kevin, were promised shares in the yard for all the years of toil they put into the family business. (The Telegraph)

But, what stays back, with the viewer, are the haunting visuals of the terrain and of the lives of the people who toil there, which are splendidly captured by Reddy, Arwat Challam and Nishant Rai. (The Business-Standard)