Dictionary.com
definitions
  • synonyms

linen

[lin-uh n]
See more synonyms on Thesaurus.com
noun
  1. fabric woven from flax yarns.
  2. Often linens. bedding, tablecloths, shirts, etc., made of linen cloth or a more common substitute, as cotton.
  3. yarn made of flax fiber.
  4. thread made of flax yarns.
adjective
  1. made of linen: a linen jacket.
Idioms
  1. wash one's dirty linen in public, to discuss in public one's private scandals, disagreements, or difficulties.

Origin of linen

before 900; Middle English lin(n)en (noun, adj.), Old English linnen, līnen (adj.) made of flax, equivalent to līn flax (< Latin līnum; see line2) + -en -en2
Related formslin·en·y, adjectivehalf-lin·en, adjectiveun·der·lin·en, noun
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for linen

Contemporary Examples

Historical Examples

  • He was naked save for a linen under shirt and pair of woollen drawers.

    The White Company

    Arthur Conan Doyle

  • Did she wish to say that she was grateful to him for having helped her in recovering the linen?

    The Dream

    Emile Zola

  • "To seek the linen for the new sheets, but it was not ready," she answered glibly.

    Fair Margaret

    H. Rider Haggard

  • And the linen I shall deposit, in pursuance of your kind hint, cannot be missed.

    Clarissa, Volume 2 (of 9)

    Samuel Richardson

  • Pick them from the stalks, and squeeze them through a linen bag.


British Dictionary definitions for linen

linen

noun
    1. a hard-wearing fabric woven from the spun fibres of flax
    2. (as modifier)a linen tablecloth
  1. yarn or thread spun from flax fibre
  2. clothes, sheets, tablecloths, etc, made from linen cloth or from a substitute such as cotton
  3. See linen paper

Word Origin

Old English linnen, ultimately from Latin līnum flax, line ²
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012

Word Origin and History for linen

n.

"cloth from woven flax," early 14c.; earlier as an adjective, "made of flax" (c.1200), from Old English linin (adj.) "made of flax," from lin "flax, linen thread, cloth," from West Germanic *linam (cf. Old Saxon, Old Norse, Old High German lin "flax, linen," German Leinen "linen," Gothic lein "linen cloth"), probably an early borrowing from Latin linum "flax, linen," which, along with Greek linon is from a non-IE language.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

Idioms and Phrases with linen

linen

The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.