Definition of silk in English:

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Pronunciation: /sɪlk/


1 [mass noun] A fine, strong, soft lustrous fibre produced by silkworms in making cocoons and collected to make thread and fabric.
Example sentences
  • Laces were typically made from flax, silk, metal wrapped silk and some cotton and wool.
  • Choose clothing made of soft fabrics like cotton or silk.
  • She had a gown of the finest silk and pure white Chantilly lace.
1.1Thread or fabric made from the fibre produced by the silkworm: [as modifier]: a silk shirt
More example sentences
  • Inspired by the rich tradition of the sub-continent, Karuna has concentrated on pure fabrics like khadi, silks, organza, brocade, tissue, crepe and georgette.
  • The fabrics used - silks, chiffon, georgettes, organza, linen and cotton - remain clearly tailor-made for taking on the spring and summer of 2003.
  • Floral prints in combination with light, natural fibres like chiffon, silk and linen underscore this young and natural look.
1.2 (silks) Garments made from silk, especially as worn by a jockey in the colours of a particular horse owner: some were dressed in racing silks
More example sentences
  • Marketing bosses even registered his bright orange and yellow racing silks with the Jockey Club for the remarkable stunt.
  • Also during the meeting, they approved a regulation with revised language to permit advertising on owner silks, jockey attire, and track saddlecloths.
  • Two English jockeys, in racing silks with whips, compete with each other for the audience's attention in a notional horse race.
1.3 [count noun] Riding A cover worn over a riding hat made from a silk-like fabric.
1.4 (silks) The silky styles of the female maize flower: peel back husks from corn without detaching from cobs; remove silks
More example sentences
  • F. verticillioides's reproductive spores are on corn silks before kernel infection and appear to be sensitive to Plantpro 45.
2British informal A Queen’s (or King’s) Counsel.
So named because of the right accorded to wear a gown made of silk
Example sentences
  • There were people being led around by what I imagine were solicitors or junior barristers, the silks moving between courts, of which there appears to be the best part of 100 housed there, courts that is.
  • And your Lordship will, of course, note that the claimant was represented by a silk and junior in this case.
  • After an outstanding career as a silk, your Honour was appointed to the New South Wales Court of Appeal in 2000.


take silk

British Become a Queen’s (or King’s) Counsel: some barristers who take silk repent it
More example sentences
  • The 51-year-old lawyer took silk as senior counsel in 1997.
  • Always ambitious, always ready for a new challenge and always able to meet fresh demands, he was a member of a number of committees before he took silk as a Senior Counsel in 1984.
  • Such was his immediate impact that he became the country's youngest-ever senior counsel, taking silk in 1979 at the previously unheard-of age of 30.



Example sentences
  • The small grubs are green-yellow in colour and, as well as tunnelling into the leaves to feed within the ‘blister ‘mines, they can draw the young foliage together with silk-like threads.’
  • She had on a sea-green silk-like dress that came just above her knees.
  • There were some silk-like heavy, pinkish curtains hanging by each corner of the bed.


Old English sioloc, seolec, from late Latin sericum, neuter of Latin sericus, based on Greek Sēres, the name given to the inhabitants of the East Asian countries from which silk first came overland to Europe.

  • In the ancient world silk came overland to Europe from China and Tibet. The Greeks and Romans called the inhabitants of these far-away and unknown lands Seres, and from this word silk developed. The observation that you can't make a silk purse out of a sow's ear has been proverbial since the late 16th century. There was an earlier version featuring ‘a goat's fleece’ rather than ‘a sow's ear’. A silk is a senior lawyer who has been made a Queen's (or King's) Counsel. The name comes from the silk robes they are entitled to wear—they are also said to take silk when they reach this rank. See also satin

Words that rhyme with silk

bilk, ilk, milk

For editors and proofreaders

Line breaks: silk

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