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Alternative forms[edit]


From Middle English flaunneol, from Anglo-Norman flanelle (compare Norman flianné), diminutive of Old French flaine, floene (coarse wool), from Gaulish, from Proto-Celtic *wlānos, *wlanā (wool) (compare Welsh gwlân, Breton gloan), from Proto-Indo-European *h₂wĺ̥h₁neh₂. More at wool.


  • IPA(key): /ˈflænəl/
  • (file)
  • Rhymes: -ænəl
  • Hyphenation: flan‧nel


flannel (countable and uncountable, plural flannels)

a flannel shirt
  1. (uncountable) A soft cloth material originally woven from wool, today often combined with cotton or synthetic fibers.
    With the weather turning colder, it was time to dig out our flannel sheets and nightclothes.
    • 2012 November 15, Tom Lamont, “How Mumford & Sons became the biggest band in the world”, in The Daily Telegraph[1]:
      First singer and guitarist Marcus Mumford, wearing a black suit, then bassist Ted Dwane, in leather bomber and T-shirt. Next bearded banjo player Winston Marshall, his blue flannel shirt hanging loose, and pianist Ben Lovett, wrapped in a woollen coat.
  2. (New Zealand, Australia, Britain, countable) A washcloth.
    • 1887, H. Rider Haggard, She: A History of Adventure[2]:
      "The Witch of Endor was a fool to her, sir: bless you, she would make no more of raising every gentleman in the Bible out of these here beastly tombs than I should of growing cress on an old flannel."
  3. (US, countable) A flannel shirt.
  4. (slang, uncountable) Soothing, plausible untruth or half-truth; claptrap.
    Don't talk flannel!

Derived terms[edit]


  • Chinese: 法蘭絨法兰绒 (fǎlánróng)
  • Danish: flannel
  • French: flanelle (see there for further descendants)
  • Japanese: フランネル (furaneru)



flannel (not comparable)

  1. Made of flannel.



flannel (third-person singular simple present flannels, present participle flanneling or flannelling, simple past and past participle flanneled or flannelled)

  1. (transitive) To rub with a flannel.
  2. (transitive) To wrap in flannel.
  3. (transitive) To flatter; to suck up to.
  4. (transitive, slang) To waffle or prevaricate.
    • 2016, J. F. Langer, From the Spitfire Cockpit to the Cabinet Office
      I got a little cross and asked him to stop flannelling and to tell me what was holding me back. Were my annual assessments below par? Was there something I had done – or not done?




From English flannel. Cognate to flonel and to Welsh gwlân (wool).



  1. soft, slightly scratched woven fabric made of wool