Old English sioloc, seolc. The immediate source is uncertain; it probably reached English via the Baltic trade routes (cognates in Old Norse silki, Russian шёлк (šolk), obsolete Lithuanian zilkaĩ), all ultimately from Late Latin sēricus, from Latin sericus, from Ancient Greek σηρικός (sērikós), ultimately from an Oriental language (represented now by e.g. Chinese 絲 (sī, “silk”)). Compare Seres.
silk (plural silks)
- (uncountable) A fine fiber excreted by the silkworm or other arthropod (such as a spider).
- The silk thread was barely visible.
- (uncountable) A fine, soft cloth woven from silk fibers.
- I had a small square of silk, but it wasn't enough to make what I wanted.
- That which resembles silk, such as the filiform styles of the female flower of maize.
- The gown worn by a Senior (i.e. Queen's/King's) Counsel.
- (colloquial) A Senior (i.e. Queen's/King's) Counsel.
silk (not comparable)
- Made of silk.
- Looking like silk, silken.
1963, Margery Allingham, chapter 2, The China Governess:
- Now that she had rested and had fed from the luncheon tray Mrs. Broome had just removed, she had reverted to her normal gaiety. She looked cool in a grey tailored cotton dress with a terracotta scarf and shoes and her hair a black silk helmet.