Glossary

Glossary of terms to make your shopping a little easier.

Click a letter or letters grouping to jump to that section:

A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z
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  • ACRYLIC
    A soft, hypo-allergenic synthetic fiber. Used in blankets; warm and less expensive than wool, but lacks breathability.
  • ALUMINUM
    In cookware, a highly conductible metal. Retains heat longer than copper; less expensive than copper. Generally sandwiched between layers of stainless steel or other metal.
  • AMPERAGE
    The measurement of electrical current a motor needs to perform.
  • ANCHOR BAND PAD
    A mattress pad that covers only the top of a mattress, an elastic band at each of the four corners, holding the pad in place.
  • ANODIZED ALUMINUM
    Anodization is a process which makes aluminum harder, non-porous and more durable. Anodized aluminum will be darker, which causes it to respond faster and more intensely to heat. Anodized aluminum will not chip, crack or peel, and can withstand lots of use (and abuse) in the kitchen.
  • AUTO SHUT OFF
    A safety feature found on many electrical appliances. Auto shut off will turn the appliance off automatically if left on for a certain period of time, or is in an unsafe position.
  • AUTOMATIC SELF CLEAN
    In shavers, it's a cleaning solution provided with a self cleaning shaver, which is usually alcohol based. Allows for hands–free cleaning without having to dismantle the shaver.
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  • BAFFLING
    The best quality construction found in down comforters. Sewn–in cloth walls, rather than sewn–through stitching, keeps down from shifting and prevents cold spots. Baffling allows the down to loft to its fullest for maximum insulation.
  • BARS OF PRESSURE
    The measurement of steam pressure which is pushed through the grinds. The higher the bars of pressure, the more flavor is extracted from the grinds.
  • BATH SHEET
    Larger than a standard bath towel, a bath sheet is a luxurious size towel that you can wrap yourself up in.
  • BLOUSON VALANCE
    Most blouson valances are made with a 2 1/2" wide pocket and can be hung 2 ways – either stuffed (usually with tissue paper) for a balloon (or blouson) look, or tailored (not stuffed and straight).
  • BODY FAT / BODY MASS INDEX SCALE
    A digital scale with the added feature of determining your percentage of body fat or body mass.
  • BOLSTER
    In cutlery, a center support piece between the blade and the handle. A bolster provides support, balance and protection for the fingers.
  • BONE CHINA
    Bone China is in the same family as Fine China, however its clay content includes a percentage of bone ash. Bone ash helps to create a whiter, more translucent ceramic.
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  • CAFE RODS
    Cafe rods are a basic rod that adds a little decorative touch. Available in 1/2" for lighter panels and 3/4" for heavier panels. Ideal for kitchen curtains.
  • CENTERING MECHANISM
    In toasters, this feature ensures even toasting by holding bread in the center of the unit.
  • CHARGER PLATE
    Larger than the dinner plate, yet smaller than a platter, it is most commonly used at a formal table. The charger plate is placed at each place setting and generally removed when the main entree is served. Therefore, all first courses are placed directly on the charger plate.
  • Carrier
    A baby wearing product that holds your baby close. Great for retaining use of your hands while still bonding with your baby.
  • CITRUS PRESS / JUICER
    Used only with citrus fruits; a more moderately priced juicer. May be manual or electric.
  • CLEAN AIR SYSTEM
    A feature found on some vacuum cleaners, in which dirt bypasses the motor and goes directly into the bag. This feature protects the motor, as well as reduces the amount of dust and allergens released back into the air.
  • CLEANING EFFECTIVENESS RATING
    The measure by which certain manufacturers rate vacuum cleaner effectiveness; indicates the amount of dirt removal, a higher rating being better.
  • COLD PRESSED
    Machine–made knives using less craftsmanship than forged cutlery. Usually does not include a metal bolster, and may also be referred to as “stamped” cutlery.
  • COMBED COTTON
    A standard grade cotton which has gone through an extra manufacturing step called “combing”, reduces the number of short, uneven fibers and leaving longer, stronger staples for weaving.
  • COMBINATION RODS
    Combination rods are a single curtain rod and Dauphine rod all in one. Used to hang a valance and rod pocket panel all on one piece of hardware, or to layer sheers and drapes.
  • COMFORT LOCK
    In Pacific Coast Feather products, a three–sided border that keeps the down on top of the sleeper, not falling over the ends of the bed.
  • COMMERCIAL JUICE EXTRACTOR
    A gourmet quality juicer. Extracts fresh juice while holding all pulp inside a spinning filter basket. An optimal amount of nutrients and juice are extracted from the fruits and vegetables.
  • CONDUCTIBLE METAL
    Conductible metals refer to metals that distribute heat rapidly and evenly. Copper and aluminum are both highly conductible metals and will be found in finest quality cookware.
  • CONVECTION OVEN
    A convection oven cooks food faster than a conventional oven by using circulating hot air.
  • CONVENTIONAL WEAVE
    Blankets constructed of a conventional weave will be tightly woven and best used for warmth and insulation. Conventional weaves trap air between the blanket and the body, and will generally be made of synthetic or wool fibers.
  • COOL MIST HUMIDIFIER
    The most energy–efficient type of humidifier. Water is drawn into a filter (or wick), which removes any mineral deposits; a fan then sucks moisture from the wick and disperses it in the air.
  • COPPER
    Copper is a highly conductible metal. It heats quickly and cools rapidly – ideal when temperature control is a must. Copper may serve as a cooking surface or be layered between other metals, such as stainless steel.
  • COTTON
    An all natural fiber. 100% cotton will be the softest and most breathable fabric. The quality of cotton is measured by the length of its staple (or fiber). The longer the staple the more luxurious and durable the cotton.
  • COTTON / POLY BLEND
    Blended sheets are most commonly comprised of 50% cotton and 50% polyester. 50–50 blends are not as soft as all–cotton fabrics, but will wrinkle less. More moderately priced, cotton/poly blends do not breathe or absorb moisture as well as all–cotton fabrics.
  • CREMA
    The creamy, golden foam on the surface of espresso which contains the full flavor of the espresso bean. Can only be consistently achieved with a pump driven espresso machine that produces the highest bars of pressure.
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  • DAUPHINE ROD
    Most commonly 2 1/2" in width and used predominantly for valances and rod pocket drapes. Sometimes called a Continental Rod.
  • DECORATIVE CURTAIN ROD
    Decorative curtain rods are available in wood, metal, and sometimes with interchangeable decorative end pieces called finials. These may be used with all types of drapery panels, as well as with some blouson valances and scarf valances. Decorative curtain rods may also have matching holdbacks to complete the look of the window.
  • DOUGH HOOK
    A stand mixer attachment used for kneading dough.
  • DOWN
    Down is the undercoat of the bird that traps warm air next to the bird's skin. The highest quality down provides light–weight, year–round warmth, and serves as a natural insulator.
  • DOWN ALTERNATIVE
    A synthetic material used in blankets. Provides levels of comfort and warmth that are comparable to down.
  • DRAPERY PANELS
    Drapery panels are generally available in 63", 84" and 96" lengths. 84" is the most common length. Whether hung alone or in combination with other treatments, drapery panels offer a wide array of design options.
  • DUAL VOLTAGE
    In electrics, an item that contains both 120 and 240 Volt systems. Allows for convenient plug–in usage for world travelers.
  • DUST RUFFLE
    Also known as a "bed skirt", a dust ruffle covers the empty space between the mattress frame and the floor, offering visual unity to a bedding ensemble.
  • DUVET COVER
    A comforter cover. The best protection for a down comforter, a duvet offers an easy way to change the look of a room.
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  • EARTHENWARE
    The oldest form of dinnerware. Contains a number of impurities, making it fragile and absorbent.
  • EGYPTIAN COTTON
    The world's finest cotton, it has the longest, strongest staple, resulting in the softest, most luxurious fabric and feel.
  • EMBELLISHED TOWEL
    Usually a terry towel with embroidery or lace; used mainly as decoration.
  • EPILATION
    Considered a hair removal system, as opposed to a shaving system. Removes hair at the root, reducing the need for frequent hair removal or shaving.
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  • FILL POWER
    The measurement of the quality of down. The higher the fill power, the greater the loft and fluff of the down comforter, resulting in light–weight, year–round warmth.
  • FINE CHINA
    Another name for Porcelain.
  • FINGERTIP TOWEL
    Used in smaller or guest bathrooms. Usually trimmed with fringe and/or embellished.
  • FINIALS
    Finials are decorative pieces that are attached to the ends of curtain rods, creating a finished look to the rod. Available in a wide variety of materials.
  • FITTED MATTRESS PAD
    A mattress pad that covers the top and sides of the mattress, but resembles a fitted sheet with elastic on each of the corners. It will be quilted only on the top of the pad and will provide a good fit.
  • FLAT BEATER
    A stand mixer attachment used predominately for mixing batters.
  • FLOATING HEADS
    Shavers equipped with floating heads adjust to follow the contours of the face. Each floating head acts independently, resulting in a smooth, close shave.
  • FLUORESCENT ILLUMINATION
    In lighted mirrors, fluorescent illumination provides cool, "outdoor" color, and emits less heat than incandescent illumination.
  • FOIL CUTTING SYSTEM
    In shavers, a system in which hairs are trapped in small holes, and then cut by blades underneath. Gives a less close shave when hairs are too short.
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  • GUARANTEED TO FIT MATTRESS PAD
    A mattress pad that will fit securely over the deepest mattress and stay secure. They are designed with expandable sidewalls, often called "expand–a–grip", and are available in both wrap and fitted styles.
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  • HAND FORGED
    The finest quality construction in cutlery. Forging is one of the oldest methods of construction, using hand craftsmanship, producing the strongest and sharpest blade.
  • HAND VAC
    A portable, cordless, hand–held vacuum cleaner for small jobs. Great for quick vacuuming of the car.
  • HEPA (High Efficiency Particulate Air)
    The most efficient type of air–purifying filter. "True HEPA" filters will remove the smallest particles at the greatest efficiency.
  • HOLDBACKS
    Used to "hold back" drapery panels to the sides of the window and may also be used as scarf holders at the top of the frame.
  • HUMIDISTAT
    Controls the level of humidity put out by a humidifier. Not always necessary on a "cool mist" humidifier; essential on a "warm mist" humidifier to prevent over–moisturizing a room.
  • HYBRID
    In air purifiers, more than one air filter working together in a unit to capture different sized particles from the air.
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  • INCANDESCENT ILLUMINATION
    In lighted mirrors, incandescent illumination provides warm, "indoor" color and emits some heat when in use.
  • INTEGRATED GRINDER
    In coffee makers, a combination grinder and brewer function. This feature will automatically grind fresh whole beans and brew grounds to perfection for the ultimate in taste and convenience.
  • ION GENERATOR or IONIZER
    An air–purifying filter that generates negatively charged ions, which act as magnets for dust and dirt. The particles are removed from the air, adhering to the filter or to walls or objects in the room.
  • IONIC TECHNOLOGY
    In hair dryers, negative ions reduce the size of water droplets on your hair, allowing more water to be absorbed and your hair to dry quicker. Also neutralizes positive charges to reduce "frizzies" caused by static electricity. Leaves hair shinier and softer.
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  • JACQUARD
    In fabrics, jacquard is a design created by weaving differently colored threads together.
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  • KILN TEMPERATURE
    Kiln temperature is the temperature at which clay is fired, which helps to define the quality and durability of dinnerware. The higher the temperature, the more durable the end product. Fine China is fired at the highest of kiln temperatures
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  • LASER CONSTRUCTION
    In cutlery, these are computer designed and shaped knives with a serrated edge. They are most commonly known as "never needs sharpening" knives.
  • LEAD CONTENT
    In crystal stemware, it is the amount of lead oxide added to the glass content, resulting in unique translucency, clarity, a fine edge and color. The addition of lead also makes the glass easier to cut in the manufacturing process.
  • LIFT AND CUT SYSTEM
    In Norelco shavers, a two part system in which the first blade lifts and holds the hair, while the second blade cuts it, resulting in a close shave.
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  • MAGNETIC CURTAIN RODS
    A great solution for hanging curtains on steel doors. Powerful magnets are able to hold the weight of most curtains. Best of all there are no screws, no adhesives, and they attach in seconds.
  • MECHANICAL ANALOG SCALE
    The most basic type. Uses a spring mechanism to measure weight and a rotating dial display.
  • MECHANICAL DIGITAL SCALE
    Uses a spring mechanism to measure weight; shows the weight on a digital display. Also known as "digital strain gauge scale".
  • MULTI LOAD CELL
    Found in a mechanical digital scale, it is the most accurate and repeatable over time. The reading is taken from the four corners of the scale for the most accuracy. The LCD display has a longer battery life.
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  • NON–STICK SURFACE
    Non–stick cooking surfaces make for easy clean up and allow for lighter, healthier cooking, as less fats and oils are needed.
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  • OLEFIN
    A man–made fiber characterized by its light weight, high strength, and abrasion resistance. Used in products such as furniture covers and draperies.
  • OSCILLATION
    The rate at which an electric toothbrush head moves back and forth or spins. The higher the speed the more advanced the cleaning capability and stain removal.
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  • PAUSE AND SERVE
    This function allows coffee to be served during the brewing process. You can remove the pot and pour the coffee, and the flow will resume when replaced. Also known as "Stop and Serve" and "Auto Drip Stop".
  • PILL
    Over time, the surface of a cotton–blend fabric with a lower thread count can develop these tiny, frayed balls of fabric.
  • PINPOINT WEAVE
    Woven with two stitches over, one stitch under. Softer than a standard weave, because more threads are on the surface of the sheet. It is more durable than a regular weave, but not as soft as sateen.
  • PIVOTING HEAD
    In shavers, a single head that pivots from side to side, conforming to the contours of the face, resulting in a close shave.
  • PLANETARY MIXING ACTION
    A feature in stand mixers in which the bowl remains stationary while the attachment rotates completely and thoroughly around the edges of the bowl, eliminating the need for a spatula during mixing.
  • POLY–CLUSTER
    A synthetic pillow, filled with polyester clusters which are coated with silicone. The most supportive and conforming synthetic pillow, which simulates down.
  • POP–UP TRIMMER
    On some shavers, a small trimmer attached to the side of the unit, and can pop up for easy use.
  • PORCELAIN
    A durable, non–absorbent ceramic that is fired at the highest kiln temperatures.
  • POURING SHIELD
    A stand mixer accessory that prevents batter from splattering when poured.
  • PRINT TOWEL
    A design is printed directly onto the surface of the towel.
  • PROJECTION
    Projection refers to the amount of space between the window treatment and the wall or window.
  • PULP EJECTOR
    A type of juice extractor. Separates pulp and juice via a spinning basket. Juice is extracted from the machine and pulp is ejected into a separate container.
  • PUMP DRIVEN
    The best quality espresso machines will be pump driven. Water is heated to the right temperature, then forced through the grinds, using an internal pump. Pump driven machines produce a "crema", resulting in a higher quality, better tasting cup of espresso.
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  • RIVETED HANDLES
    In cookware, this is the sturdiest application. Rivets are applied through the pan and permanently attached.
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  • SASH RODS
    Sash rods are typically used on sidelights and doors. They are available with a swivel end for easy access to the window.
  • SATEEN WEAVE
    Woven with four stitches over, one stitch under. Because this weave places the most threads on the surface of the sheet, sateen fabrics are very soft and luxurious.
  • SCARF VALANCE
    The most versatile window treatment, scarf valances are generally sold in 6 yard (216") lengths, which is the most common size, or 8 yard (288") lengths, and can be hung using a sconce, swag holder or even a decorative rod.
  • SCONCES / SWAG HOLDERS
    Both sconces and swag holders can be used to hang scarf valances. They offer many decorative solutions, as they allow the scarf to be hung in countless numbers of ways. Sconces may also be used as rod holders.
  • SCREWED ON HANDLES
    Typically a plastic handle that is screwed to the outside portion of the cookware. This type of handle is less secure than a riveted handle, however, it provides for a smooth interior in the pan.
  • SCT
    A manufacturing process used exclusively by Henckel's cutlery. SCT utilizes the perfect alloy for each part of the knife, resulting in gourmet quality cutlery that will last a lifetime.
  • SEMI–FITTED
    In furniture covers, a pre–sewn fabric meant to fit a piece of furniture within a range of sizes. Also known as "ready–made".
  • SHAM
    A large, often widely fringed or bordered pillow, for display as part of a bedding set.
  • SHEERS
    Sheers are manufactured as panels, valances and scarves. They may be used alone or in combination with other treatments. Sheers are versatile enough to be used with either decorative hardware or simple curtain rods.
  • SINGLE CURTAIN RODS
    Single curtain rods are predominately used with lace or sheer panels. They are available in different projections, and are an ideal solution for layering window treatments.
  • SINGLE LOAD CELL
    A feature found in mechanical digital scales, it is very accurate with the fewest moving parts. The reading is taken from a single cell. The LCD display has a longer battery life. Some models have an LED display, requiring periodic battery replacement.
  • SOLEPLATE
    The heat plate of an iron. The wider it is the better, as it will cover more area in a given press. Can be found in both stainless steel and non–stick surfaces.
  • SPRING TENSION
    Spring tension rods are available in oval and round. The round is typically used on doors with a rod at the top and bottom. The oval is used with panels to prevent drilling holes in the walls.
  • STAINLESS STEEL – COOKWARE
    In cookware, this is not a good heat conductor. Usually combined with a conductible metal, such as aluminum or copper, for effective cooking.
  • STAINLESS STEEL – FLATWARE
    One of the most common materials used to construct flatware. Stainless steel is an “alloy”, which is a combination of metals. Chromium and Nickel combined with steel create stainless.
  • STAMPED CUTLERY
    Machine–made knives using less craftsmanship than forged cutlery. Usually does not include a metal bolster, and may also be referred to as "cold pressed" cutlery.
  • STEAM DRIVEN
    An entry–level espresso machine. Water must first come to a boil before being forced through the grinds. Makes four shots of espresso at a time; then the machine must cool before additional cups are made.
  • STONEWARE
    A form of dinnerware that is more durable and heat resistant than Earthenware, since it is fired at higher kiln temperatures.
  • SUPIMA
    A long, consistent staple cotton produced in the U.S., which is very soft and durable.
  • SWEEP / STICKBROOM
    A light–duty vacuum cleaner, best for small areas such as stairs and small rooms. Commonly used for the kitchen floor and other quick pick–me–up areas. Also known as a "sweeper vac".
  • SYNTHETIC FIBERS
    Man–made fibers such as polyester, vellux, acrylic, etc.
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  • TANG
    In cutlery, the part of the blade enclosed by the handle. A full tang will run the length of the handle, resulting in a comfortably balanced gourmet quality knife.
  • TERRY
    A towel with loops. The longer and more dense the loops, the thicker and more absorbent and more luxurious the towel.
  • THERMAL WEAVE
    Thermal blankets consist of loosely woven fabric that allows air to circulate and body heat to escape, providing less warmth. Often made of acrylic or cotton fibers.
  • THREAD COUNT
    The number of threads per square inch of fabric. The higher the thread count, the softer and more durable the fabric. Thread counts range mainly from 180 to over 300; luxury linens have 300 and higher.
  • THROW BLANKET
    Typically 50" x 60"; functional and decorative. Available in a wide variety of colors and textures for accenting a sofa or chair, or at the foot of a bed.
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  • UPRIGHT VACUUM
    Best for fully carpeted surfaces, especially in larger areas. Uses a beater brush to pick up dirt; may have a hard or soft casing for bags. Sometimes available bagless and equipped with onboard attachments.
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  • VELLUX
    A thick, soft synthetic for blankets. Nylon fibers bonded to foam insulate well but do not offer breathability. (Also called a hotel blanket).
  • VELOUR
    A towel in which the loops have been cut for a velvety but less absorbent surface.
  • VITRIFIED CERAMICS
    In dinnerware, vitrified means “glass–like”. The more vitreous the ceramic, the harder, more translucent and non–porous it becomes.
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  • WARM MIST HUMIDIFIER
    Water is boiled by a heating element, which kills bacteria; steam is then cooled before being dispersed into the air as a warm mist. Can be used as a vaporizer.
  • WELDED HANDLES
    In cookware, this handle is welded to the outside of the pan, providing a smooth interior. It is not as durable as a riveted handle.
  • WIRE WHIP
    A stand mixer attachment used predominately for creaming and whipping.
  • WOOL
    A superb natural insulator, providing maximum warmth in blankets. Extremely durable, wool absorbs and evaporates moisture quickly, providing dry warmth. Naturally flame retardant, too. Dry cleaning is recommended.
  • WRAP MATTRESS PAD
    A mattress pad that covers the top and sides of the mattress with elastic all the way around the bottom. Quilted on both the top and the sides, a wrap pad provides a secure fit for your sheets with all–around padding.
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