Definition of flannel in English:


Line breaks: flan|nel
Pronunciation: /ˈflan(ə)l


  • 1 [mass noun] A kind of soft woven fabric, typically made of wool or cotton and slightly milled and raised: [as modifier]: a check flannel shirt
    More example sentences
    • ‘You're probably not going to sell much heavy wool or heavy flannel fabric in south Texas,’ he said.
    • Many parents prefer the cotton or flannel fabric because they are less expensive than silk sheets and are easier to clean.
    • Consider earth tones of all kinds, and different kinds of fabrics like cotton flannel, faux leather, warm chenille, and luxurious velvet.
  • 1.1 (flannels) Men’s trousers made of flannel: he was dressed in a tweed jacket and grey flannels
    More example sentences
    • So go crazy this fall because flannels, corduroys and tweeds are making a huge comeback.
    • It's tonnes of fun, dancing and drinking cheap beer to frenzied mandolin picking while one of the vets oversees, clad in grey flannels, blazer, beret, and a strip of medals.
    • Worn with a shirt in solid or pastel, or light stripes or checks and a subdued tie, this can go with flat front trousers or flannels.
  • 1.2 short for flannelette.
  • 2British A small piece of towelling used for washing oneself.
    More example sentences
    • As members arrived at our March meeting a generous collection of soap, toothbrushes, flannels, sponges, washing powder etc., gradually piled up.
    • You automatically look for the cheapest items - but then feel a tinge of embarrassment because you don't want to be seen as ‘the ones who bought the tea towels’, the flannels, or a single pillow case.
    • Do not share towels or flannels until the infection has cleared.
    facecloth, cloth; North American washcloth, washrag; Australian washer

verb (flannels, flannelling, flannelled)

[no object] (often as noun flannelling) British informal Back to top  
  • Use bland fluent talk to avoid addressing a difficult subject or situation directly.
    More example sentences
    • Susan Kramer, Lib Dem prospective parliamentary candidate for Richmond Park, said: ‘Residents are fed up with flannelling.’
    • He apologised for the situation and then flannelled on about ramping up production, being victims of their own success, and how they could manage the problem.
    • Really I'm not saying this to flatter or flannel - this is absolutely unique.
    use flattery, talk blarney, flatter, pull the wool over someone's eyes; prevaricate, hedge, equivocate, be evasive, vacillate, blather, evade/dodge the issue, stall; British hum and haw
    informal waffle, shilly-shally, soft-soap, sweet-talk, butter someone up, pussyfoot around
    North American informal fast-talk
    rare tergiversate


Middle English: probably from Welsh gwlanen 'woollen article', from gwlân 'wool'.

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a small amount; a little