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[muhz-lin] /ˈmʌz lɪn/
a cotton fabric made in various degrees of fineness and often printed, woven, or embroidered in patterns, especially a cotton fabric of plain weave, used for sheets and for a variety of other purposes.
Origin of muslin
1600-10; < French mousseline < Italian mussolina, equivalent to Mussol(o) Mosul, Iraq (where first made) + -ina -ine1
Related forms
undermuslin, noun Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2016.
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Examples from the Web for muslin
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • It was Maria Parslet, in a pretty summer muslin, a straw hat shading her blushing face.

    Johnny Ludlow, Fifth Series Mrs. Henry Wood
  • Dot, who possessed three, shook her head as she handled her muslin dress.

    An Australian Lassie Lilian Turner
  • Now she drew out from under the muslin folds a thin gold chain, from which dangled a flat, open-faced locket.

    The Golden Silence C. N. Williamson and A. M. Williamson
  • She lay under an awning of muslin, for fear of flies, and was awake.

    Beyond John Galsworthy
  • Carefully she folded the matted circle of feathers in its muslin covering and reverently replaced it in the bureau drawer.

    Blue Ridge Country Jean Thomas
  • Gordon rolled a cigarette from the muslin bag of Green Goose.

    Mountain Blood Joseph Hergesheimer
  • Barbara's muslin had been washed six times, and had a very different air from the vestal robes of her patroness.

    Miss Marjoribanks Mrs (Margaret) Oliphant
  • So thin it was, so brutal the blow, that it cut into the muslin.

    Long Live the King Mary Roberts Rinehart
British Dictionary definitions for muslin


a fine plain-weave cotton fabric
Word Origin
C17: from French mousseline, from Italian mussolina, from Arabic mawşilīy of Mosul, from Mawşil Mosul, Iraq, where it was first produced
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 muslin

c.1600, "delicately woven cotton fabric," from French mousseline (17c.), from Italian mussolina, from Mussolo, Italian name of Mosul, city in northern Mesopotamia (modern Iraq) where muslin was made. Like many fabric names, it has changed meaning over the years, in this case from luxurious to commonplace. In 13c. French, mosulin meant "cloth of silk and gold." The meaning "everyday cotton fabric for shirts, bedding, etc." is first attested 1872 in American English.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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