View synonyms for silk


[ silk ]


  1. the soft, lustrous fiber obtained as a filament from the cocoon of the silkworm.
  2. thread made from this fiber.
  3. cloth made from this fiber.
  4. a garment of this cloth.
  5. a gown of such material worn distinctively by a King's or Queen's Counsel at the English bar.
  6. silks, the blouse and peaked cap, considered together, worn by a jockey or sulky driver in a race.
  7. Informal. a parachute, especially one opened aloft.
  8. any fiber or filamentous matter resembling silk, as a filament produced by certain spiders, the thread of a mollusk, or the like.
  9. the hairlike styles on an ear of corn.
  10. British Informal.
    1. a King's or Queen's Counsel.
    2. any barrister of high rank.


  1. made of silk.
  2. resembling silk; silky.
  3. of or relating to silk.

verb (used without object)

  1. (of corn) to be in the course of developing silk.


/ sɪlk /


  1. the very fine soft lustrous fibre produced by a silkworm to make its cocoon
    1. thread or fabric made from this fibre
    2. ( as modifier )

      a silk dress

  2. a garment made of this
  3. a very fine fibre produced by a spider to build its web, nest, or cocoon
  4. the tuft of long fine styles on an ear of maize
    1. the gown worn by a Queen's (or King's) Counsel
    2. a Queen's (or King's) Counsel
    3. to become a Queen's (or King's) Counsel


  1. intr (of maize) to develop long hairlike styles


/ sĭlk /

  1. A fiber produced by silkworms to form cocoons. Silk is strong, flexible, and fibrous, and is essentially a long continuous strand of protein. It is widely used to make thread and fabric.
  2. A substance similar to the silk of the silkworm but produced by other insect larvae or by spiders to spin webs.

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Derived Forms

  • ˈsilkˌlike, adjective
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Other Words From

  • silklike adjective
  • half-silk adjective
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Word History and Origins

Origin of silk1

First recorded before 900; Middle English noun selk, seolk, solk, Old English sioloc, seol(o)c (cognate with Old Norse silki, Norwegian, Swedish, and Danish silke, but not found in other Germanic languages), by uncertain transmission from Latin sērica, noun use of neuter plural adjective sēricus, or from Greek sērikón “silk,” noun use of neuter of sērikós “silken,” literally, “Chinese,” derivative of Latin Sēres, Greek Sêres “the Chinese”; Germanic, Slavic ( Old Church Slavonic shelkŭ, Russian shëlk ) and Baltic ( Lithuanian šilkai ) all show unexplained change of r to l ); seric-
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Word History and Origins

Origin of silk1

Old English sioluc; compare Old Norse silki, Greek sērikon, Korean sir; all ultimately from Chinese ssǔ silk
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Idioms and Phrases

  1. hit the silk, Slang. to parachute from an aircraft; bail out.
  2. take silk, British. to become a Queen's or King's Counsel.

More idioms and phrases containing silk

see can't make a silk purse out of a sow's ear ; smooth as silk .
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Example Sentences

They’re actually the caterpillars of the domestic silk moth, Bombyx mori.

They began the process the same way, by removing sericin from silk fibers.

Doctors like silk for a variety of reasons, says David Kaplan.

All that water adds a lot of weight and volume to the silk materials as they’re stored.

The type of silk that’s most useful to people comes from what are often called silkworms.

Poking out of the shiny gold pages is a “distinctive silk marker”—also gold—which “complements the color of the leather.”

Sometimes I wear my silk pyjamas when I am going for a walk in the mornings, does that make me eccentric?

Behind their silk hats loom shadows of their immigrant forbears.

Waving a silk cloth, he declared, “Gentlemen, I will have this land just as surely as I now have this handkerchief.”

Undercover detective Gustav Frank sold Mandelbaum several bolts of stolen silk that had been secretly marked.

Q was a Queen, who wore a silk slip; R was a Robber, and wanted a whip.

He urged the growing of mulberry trees and the propagation of silk worms, as being of more value than tobacco.

She had been properly dressed for the occasion in black tulle and black silk tights.

A chair covered with red silk, borne on the shoulders of sixteen chair-men, passed up to the temple.

Instead of a cloth, on each table was a sheet of fine glazed paper which had the appearance of oiled silk.


Related Words

Definitions and idiom definitions from Unabridged, based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023

Idioms from The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.