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 formsun·der·mus·lin, noun Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for muslin

Contemporary Examples of muslin

Historical Examples of muslin

  • Miss Ingleside had a half-inch strip of muslin over her shoulder.


    Thomas Wentworth Higginson

  • Perhaps you would like to hear about it, while you mend that tear in your muslin.

    The Green Satin Gown

    Laura E. Richards

  • She had made this room of hers quite bright by hanging it with muslin curtains.

  • Tie it loosely in muslin, and simmer in the milk for three-quarters of an hour; then strain.

    The Skilful Cook

    Mary Harrison

  • A quarter of an hour before it is cooked, put in the brains tied in muslin.

    The Skilful Cook

    Mary Harrison

British Dictionary definitions for muslin



a fine plain-weave cotton fabric

Word Origin for muslin

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

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