Nephila plumipes
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 stuff.] 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 larv[ae] of {Bombyx mori}. [1913 Webster]

2. Hence, thread spun, or cloth woven, from the above-named material. [1913 Webster]

3. That which resembles silk, as the filiform styles of the female flower of maize. [1913 Webster]

{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 {Bombace[ae]}. 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} (Zo["o]l.), a breed of domestic fowls having silky plumage.

{Silk gland} (Zo["o]l.), 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} (Zo["o]l.), the adult moth of any silkworm. See {Silkworm}.

{Silk shag}, a coarse, rough-woven silk, like plush, but with a stiffer nap.

{Silk spider} (Zo["o]l.), 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}. (Zo["o]l.) 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. [1913 Webster]


The Collaborative International Dictionary of English. 2000.

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