From Middle English linen, from Old English līnen (“linen", "made of flax”), from Proto-Germanic *līnīnaz (“made of flax”), from Proto-Germanic *līną (“flax”), from Proto-Indo-European *līno- (“flax”), equivalent to line + -en. Cognate with Latin līnum (“flax”). More at line.
- (uncountable) Thread or cloth made from flax fiber.
1918, W. B. Maxwell, chapter 5, in The Mirror and the Lamp:
- Here, in the transept and choir, where the service was being held, one was conscious every moment of an increasing brightness; colours glowing vividly beneath the circular chandeliers, and the rows of small lights on the choristers' desks flashed and sparkled in front of the boys' faces, deep linen collars, and red neckbands.
- (countable) Domestic textiles, such as tablecloths, bedding, towels, under clothes, etc., that are made of linen or linen-like fabrics of cotton or other fibers; linens.
- She put the freshly cleaned linens into the linen closet.
- 1879, Richard Jefferies, The Amateur Poacher, chapter1:
- But then I had the [massive] flintlock by me for protection. ¶ […] The linen-press and a chest on the top of it formed, however, a very good gun-carriage; and, thus mounted, aim could be taken out of the window at the old mare feeding in the meadow below by the brook, […].
- A light beige colour, like that of linen cloth undyed.