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[nahy-lon] /ˈnaɪ lɒn/
any of a class of thermoplastic polyamides capable of extrusion when molten into fibers, sheets, etc., of extreme toughness, strength, and elasticity, synthesized by the interaction of a dicarboxylic acid with a diamine: used especially for yarn, fabrics, and bristles, as for brushes.
nylons, stockings made of nylon, especially sheer, full-length ones for women.
Origin of nylon
1938; coined as a generic by the du Pont Chemical Co. as distinct from known words and having no prior meaning or use, but with the suffix -on suggesting other textile fibers such as rayon
Related forms
half-nylon, adjective Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for nylon
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • We were allergic to women from their nylon hose to their face powder.

    Homesick Lyn Venable
  • It was a real top deal, in a class with nylon or jukeboxes or bubblegum.

  • He caught her in his arms as they cascaded into a tangle of limbs and nylon.

    The Deadly Daughters Winston K. Marks
  • It's all foam rubber, nylon braid supports and magnesium tubing.

    The Dope on Mars John Michael Sharkey
  • The nylon cord was hooked into a bolt near the center of the ship.

    The Secret of the Ninth Planet Donald Allen Wollheim
British Dictionary definitions for nylon


a class of synthetic polyamide materials made by copolymerizing dicarboxylic acids with diamines. They can be moulded into a variety of articles, such as combs and machine parts. Nylon monofilaments are used for bristles, etc, and nylon fibres can be spun into yarn
  1. yarn or cloth made of nylon, used for clothing, stockings, etc
  2. (as modifier): a nylon dress See also nylons
Word Origin
C20: originally a trademark


(informal) a high-earning business executive who enjoys a transatlantic lifestyle, living part of the year in New York City and part in London
Word Origin
C20: from N(ew) Y(ork) + Lon(don)
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 nylon

1938, coined, according to DuPont, from random generic syllable nyl- + -on, common ending in fiber names (cf. rayon), said to be ultimately from cotton. Use (in plural) for "nylon stockings" is from 1940.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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nylon in Science
Any of various materials made of synthetic polyamides (a type of nitrogen-containing polymer). Nylon is very strong and elastic, and can be formed into fibers, sheets, or bristles. It is used to make fabrics, plastics, and molded products.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary
Copyright © 2002. Published by Houghton Mifflin. All rights reserved.
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