a fabric in a warp-effect or filling-effect satin weave, as acetate, rayon, nylon, or silk, often having a glossy face and a soft, slippery texture.
a dress or other garment of satin: She wore her green satin.


of or like satin; smooth; glossy.
made of or covered or decorated with satin: a satin pillow.

Origin of satin

1325–75; Middle English satyn(e) < Middle French satin, probably < Arabic (aṭlas) zaytūnī (satin) of Zaitun a city in China where the cloth was made, probably Tsinkiang
Related formssat·in·like, adjective
Can be confusedSatan satin Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Related Words for satin

polished, glistening, shiny, silky, satiny, lustrous, glassy, silken

Examples from the Web for satin

Contemporary Examples of satin

Historical Examples of satin

  • There were other and still other banners, in velvet or in satin, balanced at the end of gilded batons.

    The Dream

    Emile Zola

  • One's knee struck a sword, or one's foot touched a satin train, at every step.

    In the Valley

    Harold Frederic

  • But “time and patience,” says the Eastern proverb, “change the mulberry leaf to satin.”


    Samuel Smiles

  • He was a chestnut horse, with a coat that shone like satin, and not a white hair about him.

    Henry Dunbar

    M. E. Braddon

  • The front of the skirt and of the sleeves are elaborately trimmed with puffings of satin.

    The Group

    Mercy Warren

British Dictionary definitions for satin



a fabric of silk, rayon, etc, closely woven to show much of the warp, giving a smooth glossy appearance
(modifier) of or like satin in texturea satin finish
Derived Formssatin-like, adjectivesatiny, adjective

Word Origin for satin

C14: via Old French from Arabic zaitūnī of Zaytūn, Arabic rendering of Chinese Tseutung (now Tsinkiang), port in southern China from which the cloth was probably first exported
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 satin

mid-14c., from Old French satin (14c.), perhaps from Arabic (atlas) zaytuni, literally "(satin) from Zaitun," a Chinese city, perhaps modern Quanzhou in Fukien province, southern China, a major port in the Middle Ages, with a resident community of European traders. The form of the word perhaps influenced in French by Latin seta "silk." OED finds the Arabic connection etymologically untenable and takes the French word straight from Latin. As an adjective from mid-15c.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper