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 material.
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.
(Science: botany) Silk-cotton tree, a climbing plant (Periploca Graeca) of the milkweed family, having a silky tuft on the seeds. It is native in southern Europe.
Origin: 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.