lin·​en | \ ˈli-nən How to pronounce linen (audio) \

Definition of linen

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : made of flax
2 : made of or resembling linen



Definition of linen (Entry 2 of 2)

1a : cloth made of flax and noted for its strength, coolness, and luster
b : thread or yarn spun from flax
2 : clothing or household articles made of linen cloth or similar fabric
3 : paper made from linen fibers or with a linen finish

Examples of linen in a Sentence

Noun She washes the linen every week.
Recent Examples on the Web: Noun From the linen material to the large front pockets, this dress would look adorable paired with a plain white tee or colorful print underneath. Alexandra Cavallo, USA TODAY, "25 of the cutest baby outfits for summer," 29 June 2020 For cold sleepers, consider investing in linen instead of cotton. Banu Ibrahim, CNN Underscored, "Luxury linens that are worth the price," 25 June 2020 This linen halter shift dress is bursting with color. Christie Calucchia, Southern Living, "10 Summer-Ready Dresses to Buy From Amazon’s Big Style Sale," 25 June 2020 Upgrade your tablescape with reusable melamine dinnerware, vibrant linen napkins and pillows, fun flatware, and fresh flowers. Kelsey Clark, Glamour, "24 Picnic Essentials to Upgrade Your Next Al Fresco Hang," 25 June 2020 Paper or linen patches around the ball would squeeze into the grooves to seal expanding gases. Ron Spomer, Outdoor Life, ".260 Remington vs. 6.5 Creedmoor: It’s All About Understanding Rifle Twist Rates," 24 June 2020 Some of the remodeling projects included tiling, painting, installing molding, and building a secret linen cabinet. Jessica Bennett, Better Homes & Gardens, "The Final Reveals from the Spring 2020 One Room Challenge Offer So Much Interior Design Inspiration," 24 June 2020 Barton Perreira opticals are a classic rectangular acetate frame that comes in five different color ways: black, ecru, champagne, khaki, and linen. Nandi Howard, Essence, "Fear of God Collaborates With Barton Perreira On A Pair Of Opticals," 24 June 2020 Even if the day is grey and the temperature cool, a stack of these towels with sunny yellow, sky blue, and coral accents in your linen closet will evoke salt air, sailboats, and tropical fish. Popular Science, "Best beach towels for the whole family," 23 June 2020

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'linen.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

See More

First Known Use of linen


before the 12th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1


14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

History and Etymology for linen


Middle English, from Old English līnen, from līn flax, from Latin linum flax; akin to Greek linon flax, thread

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about linen

Time Traveler for linen

Time Traveler

The first known use of linen was before the 12th century

See more words from the same century

Statistics for linen

Cite this Entry

“Linen.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 6 Jul. 2020.

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for linen



English Language Learners Definition of linen

: a smooth, strong cloth made from flax
: tablecloths, sheets, etc., made of linen or a similar cloth


lin·​en | \ ˈli-nən How to pronounce linen (audio) \

Kids Definition of linen

1 : smooth strong cloth or yarn made from flax
2 : household articles (as tablecloths or sheets) or clothing that were once often made of linen

Keep scrolling for more

More from Merriam-Webster on linen

Spanish Central: Translation of linen

Nglish: Translation of linen for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of linen for Arabic Speakers Encyclopedia article about linen

Comments on linen

What made you want to look up linen? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


See Definitions and Examples »

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

A More Exception(al) Quiz

  • hot dog  hot dog  hot dog  hot dog cat
  • Which of the following words is not a synonym for ‘a young person’?
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

Add Diction

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!