noun, often attributive
\ˈsilk \

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 \ adjective

Examples of silk in a Sentence


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

Mark Mahaney These 7 silk shirts are remarkably versatile and undeniably badass. The Editors Of Gq Style, GQ, "Why the Silk Shirt Should Be Your Go-To Summer Style Move," 5 June 2018 The living room’s custom sofa is in a Kravet fabric with pillows in a Jim Thompson silk, the 1970s chairs are from Revival, and the vintage cocktail table is from Martin La Brocante. Susanna Homan, ELLE Decor, "Once A Vintage Jewelry Seller, Alisa Bloom Becomes a Sought-After Designer and Contractor," 17 May 2018 For a semi-ritzy weekend event, try one of Equipment’s silk shirts in a pale neutral (a thicker crepe version of this shirt will be available in August). Crystal Meers, WSJ, "How to Pack for Summer’s Most (and Least) Stressful Getaways," 10 May 2018 Star of the movie, Chadwick Boseman wore a beautiful black silk shirt embellished with gold details. Daniela Sternitzky-di Napoli, Houston Chronicle, "'Black Panther' premiere celebrates African royalty, nails red carpet fashions," 30 Jan. 2018 In the gift shops, there are no images of Cixi, just a few pieces of pink silk emblazoned with her calligraphy, sold as wall hangings. New York Times, "Was This Powerful Chinese Empress a Feminist Trailblazer?," 10 July 2018 At the Folklife Festival, Dianna Hovhannisyan is weaving rugs of silk. Glenn Dixon, Smithsonian, "The Age-Old Tradition of Armenian Carpet Making Refuses to Be Swept Under the Rug," 6 July 2018 Her wedding dress, made of parachute silk, is on display at London’s Imperial War Museum. Samantha Schmidt, Washington Post, "‘Bride of Belsen’: Holocaust survivor who took care of Anne Frank dies at 95," 11 June 2018 But her credibility as a moderating force, a gracious presence swathed in silk and lace, has been significantly undermined by her own hand. Robin Givhan, Houston Chronicle, "Nothing else Melania Trump wears will ever matter again," 13 July 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

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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Phrases Related to silk

(as) smooth as silk

take silk

Statistics for silk

Last Updated

7 Oct 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for silk

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

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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 \

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 \

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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Comments on silk

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