1A fine, strong, soft lustrous fibre produced by silkworms in making cocoons and collected to make thread and fabric. Silk is also spun by some insect larvae and by most spiders.
- 1.1Thread or fabric made from the fibre produced by the silkworm.‘a frock of pale blue silk’
cobweb, spider's web
- ‘his fur was soft and as smooth as silk’
- ‘helmets covered with bright silks’
- ‘a silk shirt’
- 1.2silksGarments made from silk, especially as worn by a jockey in the colours of a particular horse owner.
- ‘some were dressed in racing silks’
- 1.3silksThe silky styles of the female maize flower.
- ‘peel back husks from corn without detaching from cobs; remove silks’
- 1.1Thread or fabric made from the fibre produced by the silkworm.
2British informal A Queen's (or King's) Counsel.
Old English sioloc, seolec, from late Latin sericum, neuter of Latin sericus, based on Greek Sēres, the name given to the inhabitants of the East Asian countries from which silk first came overland to Europe.