noun, often attributive
\ ˈsilk How to pronounce silk (audio) \

Definition of silk

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : a fine continuous protein fiber produced by various insect larvae usually for cocoons especially : a lustrous tough elastic fiber produced by silkworms and used for textiles
2 : thread, yarn, or fabric made from silk filaments
3a : a garment of silk
b(1) : a distinctive silk gown worn by a King's or Queen's Counsel
(2) : a King's or Queen's Counsel
c silks plural : the colored cap and blouse of a jockey or harness horse driver made in the registered racing color of the employing stable
4a : a filament resembling silk especially : one produced by a spider
b : silky material milkweed silk especially : the styles of an ear of corn


silked; silking; silks

Definition of silk (Entry 2 of 2)

intransitive verb

of corn
: to develop the silk

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Other Words from silk


silklike \ ˈsilk-​ˌlīk How to pronounce silklike (audio) \ adjective

Examples of silk in a Sentence

Noun a variety of silks and satins The robe has butterflies embroidered in silk on the sleeves. the silk of a spider's web
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Recent Examples on the Web: Noun There was glitter of metal, the soft sheen of silk; gauze in every color; black leather, black wood, black velvet. Scott Bradfield, The New Republic, "Science Fiction’s Wonderful Mistakes," 16 Dec. 2019 One last glimpse From the archive: Winders of silk at the Tombs of the Caliphs. Nichole Sobecki, National Geographic, "What can a photographer bring to an image?," 6 Dec. 2019 At the exhibition, visitors make their way through a series of 10 interconnecting rooms, each dedicated to a different aspect of the brand, from art on silk to Louis Vuitton on the red carpet. Kavita Daswani, Los Angeles Times, "Colorful fashion. Social causes. Jaden Smith teams up with Stance on new themed pop-up shop," 19 Sep. 2019 More than 11-miles of silk will be used to create the elaborate displays, according a news release. Doreen Christensen,, "Bedazzling ‘Luminosa’ at Jungle Island will feature a million tiny lights and giant Chinese lanterns," 23 Aug. 2019 Plus, head scarves made of silk or satin have the added benefit of protecting your hair while looking super chic, too. Allure, "Six Cool New Ways to Tie a Head Scarf This Summer," 24 July 2019 Her famous silk crepe slip dress (by her pal, designer Narciso Rodriguez) wouldn't slip easily over her head; adjustments had to be made to her hair and makeup. Maria Puente, USA TODAY, "When JFK Jr. and Carolyn got married: Never before seen tapes on TV for first time," 14 July 2019 Jacquard's machine was capable of programming patterns with such precision, it was even used in 1886 to create a prayer book woven entirely in silk, using black and gray thread. Jennifer Ouellette, Ars Technica, "This “essential piece of computing history” just sold for $43,750," 17 Dec. 2019 This printed wide-leg jumpsuit from Ulla Johnson, a plaid silk-and-lace slip dress from Cami NYC, and these cropped flare jeans from Mother Denim. Kami Phillips,, "Shopbop's Cyber Monday Sale Has Thousands of Styles Up to 75% Off — Only Until Midnight," 2 Dec. 2019 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb In the end, a pink silked jockey named Javier Castellano rode City of Light in a victory that won him the the $9 million Pegasus World Cup and Chad Brown rode Bricks and Mortar to win the over $6 million prize Pegasus World Cup Turf. Lilah Ramzi, Vogue, "Inside Miami's Pegasus Cup, the World’s Richest Horse Race," 1 Feb. 2019 Strip away silks only and grill the ears inside their husks after a 20-minute soak in cold water. Cheryl Slocum, Country Living, "Truffle Oil, Garlic, and Parmesan Grilled Corn," 14 May 2011 Harbison, Fall 2014 His collaboration with Jim Thompson, silks that today are mostly considered for interiors not clothing, is just another example of how designers are increasingly blurring the lines between decor and fashion. Sarah Bray, ELLE Decor, "Why We're Seeing Home Fabrics On The Runways," 12 May 2014 Back in the U.S., Variety held its Power of Young Hollywood party, where Zendaya, Charli XCX, Yara Shahidi, and more walked the red (well, black) carpet in everything from Swarovski crystal suits to silk pajamas., "Week in Fashion: Rihanna Hits Crop Over," 11 Aug. 2017

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

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First Known Use of silk


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


1783, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for silk


Middle English, from Old English seolc, sioluc, probably ultimately from Greek sērikos silken — more at sericeous

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Time Traveler for silk

Time Traveler

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

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Statistics for silk

Last Updated

14 Jan 2020

Cite this Entry

“Silk.” The Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., Accessed 18 January 2020.

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More Definitions for silk


How to pronounce silk (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of silk

: a smooth, soft, and shiny cloth that is made from thread produced by silkworms also : the thread that is used to make silk
: the thread that is produced by a spider
: the thin strings in an ear of corn


\ ˈsilk How to pronounce silk (audio) \

Kids Definition of silk

1 : a fine fiber that is spun by many insect larvae usually to form their cocoon or by spiders to make their webs and that includes some kinds used for weaving cloth
2 : thread, yarn, or fabric made from silk
3 : the threadlike strands that are found over the kernels of an ear of corn


\ ˈsilk How to pronounce silk (audio) \

Medical Definition of silk

1 : a fine continuous protein fiber produced by various insect larvae usually for cocoons especially : a lustrous tough elastic fiber produced by silkworms and used for textiles
2 : strands of silk thread of various thicknesses used as suture material in surgery surgical silk

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More from Merriam-Webster on silk

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with silk

Spanish Central: Translation of silk

Nglish: Translation of silk for Spanish Speakers

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

Comments on silk

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experienced by way of someone else

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