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linen

[lin-uh n] /ˈlɪn ən/
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
5.
made of linen:
a linen jacket.
Idioms
6.
wash one's dirty linen in public, to discuss in public one's private scandals, disagreements, or difficulties.
Origin of linen
900
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 forms
lineny, adjective
half-linen, adjective
underlinen, noun
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2017.
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Examples from the Web for linen
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • This was done up carefully in a square of linen, pinned here and there.

  • The Master said, A linen cap is good form; now silk is worn.

  • linen in Ireland had been a perfect type of the State-created, spoon-fed industry characteristic of the period of mercantilism.

  • At the convent there was an old maid who came for a week each month to mend the linen.

    Madame Bovary Gustave Flaubert
  • She keeps the accounts, writes out the bills, superintends the linen and sews on the general shirt-buttons.

British Dictionary definitions for linen

linen

/ˈlɪnɪn/
noun
1.
  1. a hard-wearing fabric woven from the spun fibres of flax
  2. (as modifier): a linen tablecloth
2.
yarn or thread spun from flax fibre
3.
clothes, sheets, tablecloths, etc, made from linen cloth or from a substitute such as cotton
4.
Word Origin
Old English linnen, ultimately from Latin līnum flax, line²
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
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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
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Slang definitions & phrases for linen

linen

The Dictionary of American Slang, Fourth Edition by Barbara Ann Kipfer, PhD. and Robert L. Chapman, Ph.D.
Copyright (C) 2007 by HarperCollins Publishers.
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Idioms and Phrases with linen
The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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5
8
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