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What is the difference between words pleat and crease in the meaning of a fold in a piece of cloth?

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up vote 10 down vote accepted

A pleat (left photo) involves the cloth folded back on itself, accordion style. It's one of the ways to make a garment wider or narrower in parts, rather than just being a cylinder. For example flaring a skirt, or bringing in the waist of pants.


A crease (right photo) is a line on fabric that might have been ironed in, or might just be a wrinkle from how it's been worn or stored.

There are also creases on your hands, around your eyes, and in other non-clothing items, so it might be used for metaphorical effect.

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A pleat is always deliberate. A crease isn't necessarily so.

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Aha! So, pleats form a subset of all creases, which has one property of them being deliberately formed. Thanks! – ovgolovin Aug 12 '12 at 12:38
There's a little more to it than that. A pleat is generally found in ladies' skirts and dresses as part of the design. Creases in clothes are usually things you don't want. – Barrie England Aug 12 '12 at 12:41
I see it. When a speaker elects to use "crease", they don't use "pleat" (while they could), which means that there should be reasons why that choice has been made, so "crease" has more tendency to NOT having been formed on purpose. – ovgolovin Aug 12 '12 at 12:44
On the whole, yes. – Barrie England Aug 12 '12 at 12:49
@MarkBeadles: But Kate's is the more comprehensive answer. – Barrie England Aug 12 '12 at 17:31

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