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See also: Silk


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A performer using silks


From Middle English silk, sylk, selk, selc, from Old English sioloc, seoloc, seolc ‎(silk). The immediate source is uncertain; it probably reached English via the Baltic trade routes (cognates in Old Norse silki (> Danish silke, Swedish silke ‎(silk)), Russian шёлк ‎(šolk), obsolete Lithuanian zilkaĩ), all ultimately from Late Latin sēricus, from Ancient Greek σηρικός ‎(sērikós), ultimately from an Oriental language (represented now by e.g. Chinese ‎(, silk)). Compare Seres.



silk ‎(plural silks)

  1. (uncountable) A fine fiber excreted by the silkworm or other arthropod (such as a spider).
    The silk thread was barely visible.
  2. 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.
  3. That which resembles silk, such as the filiform styles of the female flower of maize.
  4. The gown worn by a Senior (i.e. Queen's/King's) Counsel.
  5. (colloquial) A Senior (i.e. Queen's/King's) Counsel.
  6. (circus arts, in the plural) A pair of long silk sheets suspended in the air on which a performer performs tricks.
  7. (horse racing, chiefly in the plural) The garments worn by a jockey displaying the colors of the horse's owner.

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silk ‎(not comparable)

  1. Made of silk.
    • 1907, Robert W[illiam] Chambers, “chapter I”, in The Younger Set (Project Gutenberg; EBook #14852), New York, N.Y.: A. L. Burt Company, published 1 February 2005 (Project Gutenberg version), OCLC 4241346:
      It was flood-tide along Fifth Avenue; motor, brougham, and victoria swept by on the glittering current; pretty women glanced out from limousine and tonneau; young men of his own type, silk-hatted, frock-coated, the crooks of their walking sticks tucked up under their left arms, passed on the Park side.
  2. Looking like silk, silken.
    • 1963, Margery Allingham, chapter 2, in The China Governess[1]:
      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.


silk ‎(third-person singular simple present silks, present participle silking, simple past and past participle silked)

  1. (transitive) To remove the silk from (corn).
    • 2013, Lynetra T. Griffin, From Whence We Came (page 17)
      While we shucked and silked the corn, we talked, sang old nursery rhymes []