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
5 : parachute


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 silk (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 Every formula is infused with silk protein, whose amino acids work their way inside the core of curly hair. Jessica Cruel, Allure, "Nexxus's Curl Define Line Adds Protein Without Making Natural Hair Brittle," 1 Mar. 2021 Sitting on the couch in silk pajamas next to Foster was her wife, Alexandra Hedison, and their dog, Ziggy. Elizabeth Logan, Glamour, "Who Is Alexandra Hedison, Jodie Foster's Wife?," 1 Mar. 2021 With Satchel looking elegant in a matte black silk, floral gauze gown and Jackson wearing the brand’s Grottesco jacquard on a robe-like jacket, the siblings had an innate star quality that bodes well for their fashion future. Janelle Okwodu, Vogue, "The 20 Best Dressed Stars at the 2021 Golden Globes," 1 Mar. 2021 Kapok is a natural fiber that comes from a tree and is smooth like silk with the fluffiness of cotton. Jamie Kim, Good Housekeeping, "Every Type of Pillow You Need to Know About," 18 Feb. 2021 Because the opera was an evening event, women would forego hats, and the length of skirts (long) meant that stockings (made of silk) and shoes (likely narrow, pointed and with just a small heel) were unlikely to be seen. New York Times, "Undine Spragg’s Life in Objects," 26 Jan. 2021 Here’s to perfect hair thanks to the silk pillowcase and rested eyes with my adorable pink mask! Janell M. Hickman-kirby, Good Housekeeping, "The Coworker Beauty Gift Exchange That's Sure to Spread Holiday Cheer," 4 Dec. 2020 Always use the care instructions as your guide, but in most instances, bleaching wool, silk, mohair, leather, spandex and non-colorfast colors is not recommended. Amanda Garrity, Good Housekeeping, "How to Get Blood Out of Clothes Fast, Whether It's a Fresh or Dried Stain," 22 Jan. 2021 Perez is known for the unique shape of her linen and silk masks, many of which come with removable leashes — ranging from Cuban link chains to thicker lucite and marble chains. Eliza Huber,, "Jennifer Lopez Wore Going-Out PJs With 2020’s Most Useful Accessory," 23 Dec. 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb The company’s woven viscose bamboo threads are similar to silk and cashmere, offering luxury while remaining earth-friendly. Jean Chen Smith,, "How to create a quarantine-ready home sanctuary," 13 May 2020 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

3 Mar 2021

Cite this Entry

“Silk.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 8 Mar. 2021.

Style: MLA
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More Definitions for silk



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

Nglish: Translation of silk for Spanish Speakers

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

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