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linen

[lin-uh n]
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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 underlinen

Historical Examples

  • It was full of a jumble of newspapers, books, old clothes and underlinen, in bundles.

    L'Assommoir

    Emile Zola

  • Now it seems to me that we could not do better than make her a set of underlinen.

  • No one seemed to possess a nightgown; all slept in their underlinen.

  • To every man new clothes and underlinen were issued; and we all had to have a bath!

  • The gombeenwoman Eliza Tudor had underlinen enough to vie with her of Sheba.

    Ulysses

    James Joyce


British Dictionary definitions for underlinen

underlinen

noun
  1. underclothes, esp when made of 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 underlinen

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 underlinen

underlinen

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

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