1. 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.
  2. 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 formshalf-ny·lon, adjective
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for nylon

Contemporary Examples of nylon

Historical Examples of nylon

  • We were allergic to women from their nylon hose to their face powder.


    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


  1. 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 for nylon

C20: originally a trademark


  1. 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 for NYLON

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

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

nylon in Science


  1. 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 © 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.