1. a regenerated, semisynthetic textile filament made from cellulose, cotton linters, or wood chips by treating these with caustic soda and carbon disulfide and passing the resultant solution, viscose, through spinnerets.
  2. fabric made of this filament.
  1. made of rayon.

Origin of rayon

First recorded in 1920–25; apparently based on ray1
Related formshalf-ray·on, adjective
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for rayon

Contemporary Examples of rayon

Historical Examples of rayon

  • Cords are made with surface coverings of several different materials: braided cotton, rayon or silk, and molded rubber or plastic.

  • Surprisingly enough, some industries such as the tobacco industry and the rayon and cellophane industries expanded considerably.

  • Ned, take a good look at that Chinese guy in the rayon bathrobe and let me know who he is.

    Arm of the Law

    Harry Harrison

  • Has walking become an outmoded sport or are you trying to save wear and tear on rayon stockings?

    Saboteurs on the River

    Mildred A. Wirt

British Dictionary definitions for rayon


  1. any of a number of textile fibres made from wood pulp or other forms of cellulose
  2. any fabric made from such a fibre
  3. (modifier) consisting of or involving rayona rayon shirt

Word Origin for rayon

C20: from French, from Old French rai ray 1
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 rayon

1924, chosen by National Retail Dry Goods Association of America, probably from French rayon "beam of light, ray," from rai (see ray (n.1)), which also was used in Middle English as a name for a type of cloth. So called because it is shiny. A more marketable alternative than the original patented name, artificial silk (1884), or the intervening attempt, Glos, which was "killed by ridicule" ["Draper's Record," June 14, 1924].

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper