- the soft, lustrous fiber obtained as a filament from the cocoon of the silkworm.
- thread made from this fiber.
- cloth made from this fiber.
- a garment of this cloth.
- a gown of such material worn distinctively by a King's or Queen's Counsel at the English bar.
- silks, the blouse and peaked cap, considered together, worn by a jockey or sulky driver in a race.
- Informal. a parachute, especially one opened aloft.
- any fiber or filamentous matter resembling silk, as a filament produced by certain spiders, the thread of a mollusk, or the like.
- the hairlike styles on an ear of corn.
- British Informal.
- a King's or Queen's Counsel.
- any barrister of high rank.
- made of silk.
- resembling silk; silky.
- of or relating to silk.
- (of corn) to be in the course of developing silk.
- hit the silk, Slang. to parachute from an aircraft; bail out.
- take silk, British. to become a Queen's or King's Counsel.
Origin of silk
Examples from the Web for silk
Sometimes I wear my silk pyjamas when I am going for a walk in the mornings, does that make me eccentric?The Death of the English Eccentric
November 25, 2014
Behind their silk hats loom shadows of their immigrant forbears.The Magazine That Made—and Unmade—Politicians
November 2, 2014
Waving a silk cloth, he declared, “Gentlemen, I will have this land just as surely as I now have this handkerchief.”Washington’s Wheeler-Dealer Patriotism
October 31, 2014
When detectives raided her store and found the silk in her possession, they arrested her.Meet 'The Queen of Thieves' Marm Mandelbaum, New York City's First Mob Boss
J. North Conway
September 7, 2014
Another bold piece of color is a simple red dress made of silk gauze worn by one Monica Maurice for her wedding to Arthur Jackson.Here Comes the Bride…In Flaming Red: Two Centuries of Colorful Wedding Dresses
May 7, 2014
A hinge creaked, but it was no louder than the rustle of silk against silk.Way of the Lawless
Get it ready for canning by husking it and removing the silk.Woman's Institute Library of Cookery, Vol. 5
Woman's Institute of Domestic Arts and Sciences
The work-room of a silk factory affords a curious spectacle.The Roof of France
I secretly hoped for a silk, but Mother, to whom I suppose I am even now—now!The Bacillus of Beauty
If you'd been onto your job, things would have been smooth as silk.Chip, of the Flying U
B. M. Bower
- the very fine soft lustrous fibre produced by a silkworm to make its cocoon
- thread or fabric made from this fibre
- (as modifier)a silk dress
- a garment made of this
- a very fine fibre produced by a spider to build its web, nest, or cocoon
- the tuft of long fine styles on an ear of maize
- the gown worn by a Queen's (or King's) Counsel
- informala Queen's (or King's) Counsel
- take silkto become a Queen's (or King's) Counsel
- (intr) US and Canadian (of maize) to develop long hairlike styles
Word Origin and History for silk
c.1300, from Old English seoloc, sioloc "silk, silken cloth," from Latin sericum "silk," plural serica "silken garments, silks," literally "Seric stuff," neuter of Sericus, from Greek Serikos "silken; pertaining to the Seres," an oriental people of Asia from whom the Greeks got silks. Western cultivation began 552 C.E., when agents from Byzantium impersonating monks smuggled silkworms and mulberry leaves out of China.
Chinese si "silk," Manchurian sirghe, Mongolian sirkek have been compared to this and the people name in Greek might be a rendering via Mongolian of the Chinese word for "silk," but this is uncertain.
Also found in Old Norse as silki but not elsewhere in Germanic. The more common Germanic form is represented by Middle English say, from Old French seie, with Spanish seda, Italian seta, Dutch zijde, German Seide is from Medieval Latin seta "silk," perhaps elliptical for seta serica, or else a particular use of seta "bristle, hair" (see seta (n.)).
According to some sources [Buck, OED], the use of -l- instead of -r- in the Balto-Slavic form of the word (cf. Old Church Slavonic šelku, Lithuanian šilkai) passed into English via the Baltic trade and may reflect a Chinese dialectal form, or a Slavic alteration of the Greek word. But the Slavic linguist Vasmer dismisses that, based on the initial sh- in the Slavic words, and suggests the Slavic words are from Scandinavian rather than the reverse.
As an adjective from mid-14c. In reference to the "hair" of corn, 1660s, American English. Figurative use of silk-stocking (n.) is from 1590s; as an adjective meaning "wealthy" it is attested from 1798, American English (silk stockings, especially worn by men, being regarded as extravagant and reprehensible, indicative of luxurious habits). Silk-screen (n.) is first attested 1930; as a verb from 1961. Silk road so called in English from 1931.
- 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.
- A substance similar to the silk of the silkworm but produced by other insect larvae or by spiders to spin webs.
Idioms and Phrases with silk
see can't make a silk purse out of a sow's ear; smooth as silk.