a soft, slightly napped fabric of wool or wool and another fiber, used for trousers, jackets, shirts, etc.
a soft, warm, light fabric of cotton or cotton and another fiber, thickly napped on one side and used for sleepwear, undergarments, sheets, etc.
  1. an outer garment, especially trousers, made of flannel.
  2. woolen undergarments.
  1. a washcloth.
  2. Informal.nonsense; humbug; empty talk.
  3. Informal.flattery; insincere or overdone praise.

verb (used with object), flan·neled, flan·nel·ing or (especially British), flan·nelled, flan·nel·ling.

to cover or clothe with flannel.
to rub with flannel.

Origin of flannel

1300–50; Middle English flaunneol, perhaps dissimilated variant of flanyn sackcloth < Welsh; compare Welsh gwlanen woolen article, equivalent to gwlân wool (akin to Latin lāna) + -en suffix denoting a single item (as a piece of a mass noun or singular of a collective plural)
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Related Words for flannel

thermals, woolens

Examples from the Web for flannel

Contemporary Examples of flannel

Historical Examples of flannel

British Dictionary definitions for flannel



a soft light woollen fabric with a slight nap, used for clothing
(plural) trousers or other garments made of flannel
British a small piece of cloth used to wash the face and hands; face clothUS and Canadian equivalent: washcloth
British informal indirect or evasive talk; deceiving flattery

verb -nels, -nelling or -nelled or US -nels, -neling or -neled (tr)

to cover or wrap with flannel
to rub, clean, or polish with flannel
British informal to talk evasively to; flatter in order to mislead
Derived Formsflannelly, adjective

Word Origin for flannel

C14: probably variant of flanen sackcloth, from Welsh gwlanen woollen fabric, from gwlân wool
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 flannel

c.1500, probably from Welsh gwlanen "woolen cloth," from gwlan "wool," from Celtic *wlana, from PIE *wele- "wool."

The Welsh origin is not a universally accepted etymology, due to the sound changes involved; some (Barnhart, Gamillscheg) suggest the English word is from an Anglo-French diminutive of Old French flaine "a kind of coarse wool." "As flannel was already in the 16th c. a well-known production of Wales, a Welsh origin for the word seems antecedently likely" [OED]. Modern French flanelle is a 17c. borrowing from English.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper