The Collaborative International Dictionary of English v.0.48:
Silk \Silk\, n. [OE. silk, selk, AS. seolc, seoloc; akin to
Icel. silki, SW. & Dan. silke; prob. through Slavic from an
Oriental source; cf. Lith. szilkai, Russ. shelk', and also L.
sericum Seric stuff, silk. Cf. Sericeous. Serge a woolen
1. The fine, soft thread produced by various species of
caterpillars in forming the cocoons within which the worm
is inclosed during the pupa state, especially that
produced by the larvae of Bombyx mori.
2. Hence, thread spun, or cloth woven, from the above-named
3. That which resembles silk, as the filiform styles of the
female flower of maize.
Raw silk, silk as it is wound off from the cocoons, and
before it is manufactured.
Silk cotton, a cottony substance enveloping the seeds of
the silk-cotton tree.
Silk-cotton tree (Bot.), a name for several tropical trees
of the genera Bombax and Eriodendron, and belonging to
the order Bombaceae. The trees grow to an immense size,
and have their seeds enveloped in a cottony substance,
which is used for stuffing cushions, but can not be spun.
Silk flower. (Bot.)
(a) The silk tree.
(b) A similar tree (Calliandra trinervia) of Peru.
Silk fowl (Zool.), a breed of domestic fowls having silky
Silk gland (Zool.), a gland which secretes the material of
silk, as in spider or a silkworm; a sericterium.
Silk gown, the distinctive robe of a barrister who has been
appointed king's or queen's counsel; hence, the counsel
himself. Such a one has precedence over mere barristers,
who wear stuff gowns. [Eng.]
Silk grass (Bot.), a kind of grass (Stipa comata) of the
Western United States, which has very long silky awns. The
name is also sometimes given to various species of the
genera Aqave and Yucca.
Silk moth (Zool.), the adult moth of any silkworm. See
Silk shag, a coarse, rough-woven silk, like plush, but with
a stiffer nap.
Silk spider (Zool.), a large spider (Nephila plumipes),
native of the Southern United States, remarkable for the
large quantity of strong silk it produces and for the
great disparity in the sizes of the sexes.
Silk thrower, Silk throwster, one who twists or spins
silk, and prepares it for weaving. --Brande & C.
Silk tree (Bot.), an Asiatic leguminous tree (Albizzia
Julibrissin) with finely bipinnate leaves, and large flat
pods; -- so called because of the abundant long silky
stamens of its blossoms. Also called silk flower.
Silk vessel. (Zool.) Same as Silk gland, above.
Virginia silk (Bot.), a climbing plant (Periploca
Gr[ae]ca) of the Milkweed family, having a silky tuft on
the seeds. It is native in Southern Europe.