E. Cobham Brewer 18101897. Dictionary of Phrase and Fable. 1898.
Coat of many Colours. (Gen. xxxvii. 3).
Harmer, in his Observations (vol. ii. p. 386), informs us that many colours in this connection does not mean striped, flowered embroidered, or printed with several colours, but having divers pieces of different colours sewed together in patchwork. The Hebrew word is passeem. In 2 Sam. xiii. 18 we are told that kings daughters wore a garment of many colours or divers pieces. Dr. Adam Clarke says that similar garments are worn by persons of distinction in Persia, India, and some parts of China to the present day. The great offence was this: Jacob was a sheik, and by giving Joseph a princes robe he virtually announced him his heir. (See DIVERS COLOURS.)