from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • n. A widely cultivated plant, Linum usitatissimum, having pale blue flowers, seeds that yield linseed oil, and slender stems from which a textile fiber is obtained.
  • n. The fine, light-colored textile fiber obtained from this plant.
  • n. Any of various other plants of the genus Linum or of similar or related genera.
  • n. A pale grayish yellow.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. A plant of the genus Linum, especially Linum usitatissimum, which has a single, slender stalk, about a foot and a half high, with blue flowers. Also known as linseed, especially when referring to the seeds.
  • n. The fibers of Linum usitatissimum, grown to make linen and related textiles.
  • n. A plant of the genus Phormium, native to New Zealand, with strap-like leaves up to 3 metres long that grow in clumps called flax bushes.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. A plant of the genus Linum, esp. the L. usitatissimum, which has a single, slender stalk, about a foot and a half high, with blue flowers. The fiber of the bark is used for making thread and cloth, called linen, cambric, lawn, lace, etc. Linseed oil is expressed from the seed.
  • n. The skin or fibrous part of the flax plant, when broken and cleaned by hatcheling or combing.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • To beat.
  • To move quickly; “knock” about: as, to flax round (to move about in a lively or energetic manner).
  • n. The common name for plants of the genus Linum and for the fiber obtained from the stems of L. usitatissimum.
  • n. One of several plants of other genera, mostly resembling common flax, as the false or white flax (Camelina sativa), mountain flax (Polygala Senega), toadflax (Linaria vulgaris), New Zealand flax (Phormium tenax), which yields a strong fiber, and spurge-flax (Daphne Gnidium).
  • n. The whitethroat, Sylvia cinerea: with reference to the material composing its nest.
  • n. Canvas linen, made from flax, used for sailmaking.
  • n. The field-cress or mithridate mustard, Lepidium campestre.
  • n. In New Zealand, L. monogynum; also the New Zealand flax, Phormium tenax. See Phormium.
  • n. Same as Lewis's wild flax.
  • n. Same as toad-flax.
  • n. Same as false flax.
  • n. The garden tickseed or calliopsis, Coreopsis tinctoria.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • n. fiber of the flax plant that is made into thread and woven into linen fabric
  • n. plant of the genus Linum that is cultivated for its seeds and for the fibers of its stem


Middle English, from Old English fleax.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
From Old English fleax, from Proto-Germanic *flahsan, from Proto-Indo-European *plek- (“to plait”). Cognate with Old Frisian flax, Old Saxon *flahs (Dutch vlas), Old High German flahs (German Flachs); the Northern Germanic (and most likely the Gothic too) stem is different. (Wiktionary)



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  • A plant with fern-like airy, lacy foliage and small blue flowers

    January 24, 2008