se·​ri·​ceous sə-ˈri-shəs How to pronounce sericeous (audio)
: covered with fine silky hair
sericeous leaf

Did you know?

In the writings of the ancient Greeks, there is mention of the Sēres, an eastern Asian people who made what the Greeks called sērikos fabrics. Historians now believe that the Sēres were the Chinese, from whom the ancient Greeks first obtained silk. The ancient Romans wove the Sēres' name into their language, creating sericum, the Latin word for silk. The English word silk is also assumed to be spun—with some significant alterations from Old English to Middle English—from the same Greek fiber. Both silk and silken have been in the English language for many, many centuries, but scientists wanted a new term to describe the silky hairs on some leaves and bodies, and so they adapted the Late Latin word sericeus ("silken") to create sericeous, a word that appears almost exclusively in technical contexts.

Word History


Late Latin sericeus silken, from Latin sericum silk garment, silk, from neuter of sericus silken, from Greek sērikos, from Sēres, an eastern Asian people, probably the Chinese

First Known Use

circa 1777, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of sericeous was circa 1777


Dictionary Entries Near sericeous

Cite this Entry

“Sericeous.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 22 May. 2024.

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