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 The money is often put in silk or cotton pouches embroidered with designs. Kristin Lam, USA TODAY, "Lunar New Year 2020: What are the traditions, and which Asian cultures celebrate it?," 26 Jan. 2020 Situated on the southern edge of the Iranian high plateau, this medieval town in the desert was at its peak between the 7th and 11th centuries, when it was known for its silk and cotton garments. Sheena Mckenzie, CNN, "Iran's cultural treasures have been threatened by Trump. Here are some of its most important sites," 7 Jan. 2020 Taylor Swift arrived at the 2020 Golden Globes in a cheery but elegant navy-and-yellow silk floral gown with her hair loosely swept back in a bun. Ashley Iasimone, Billboard, "Taylor Swift Graces the Red Carpet in a Floral Gown at the 2020 Golden Globes," 5 Jan. 2020 Serkin said a similar haul of silks and designer cloths would set her back $200 at a quilting store. Steve Rubenstein,, "This San Francisco warehouse is full of either junk or possibilities," 3 Jan. 2020 These gradients and features in natural materials—for example, in green malachite or onyx, which is natural yet glamorous, same for boucle and textured silk. Vogue, "8 Interior Design Predictions For 2020 (And What's On Its Way Out)," 30 Dec. 2019 Mexican silk-and-cotton shawls called rebozos are layered atop the leather-and-wood chairs known as equipales on the porch. Elisabeth Malkin, ELLE Decor, "See Inside an Idyllic Retreat in Northern Mexico," 18 Dec. 2019 Tatcha utilizes the healing properties of the anti-inflammatory indigo plant to soothe inflamed skin, while silk and squalane work to hydrate and repair. Tanisha Pina, NBC News, "7 best hand creams to gift for the 2019 holidays," 6 Dec. 2019 The exception, maybe, is the outfit of yellow-and-hot-pink jockey silks Kristen Stewart gets to wear in a race-track scene. Time, "Charlie's Angels Fails to Give Kristen Stewart the Glamorous Action Movie She Deserves," 15 Nov. 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

11 Feb 2020

Cite this Entry

“Silk.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 24 Feb. 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

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