From Old English fleax, from Proto-Germanic *flahsan, from Proto-Indo-European *plek- (“to plait”). Cognate with Old Frisian flax, Old Saxon *flahs (Dutch vlas), Old High German flahs (German Flachs); the Northern Germanic (and most likely the Gothic too) stem is different.
flax (plural flaxes)
- A plant of the genus Linum, especially Linum usitatissimum, which has a single, slender stalk, about a foot and a half high, with blue flowers. Also known as linseed, especially when referring to the seeds.
- The fibers of Linum usitatissimum, grown to make linen and related textiles.
- A plant of the genus Phormium, native to New Zealand, with strap-like leaves up to 3 metres long that grow in clumps called flax bushes.
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- ^ Etymology in the Deutsches Wörterbuch of Jakob und Wilhelm Grimm: "however, Old Norse hör ... The Gothic word has not been transmitted, but one might guess harvs"
- (slang) (unexpected) good luck