Flax



[flaks] /flæks/

noun
1.
any plant of the genus Linum, especially L. usitatissimum, a slender, erect, annual plant having narrow, lance-shaped leaves and blue flowers, cultivated for its fiber and seeds.
2.
the fiber of this plant, manufactured into linen yarn for thread or woven fabrics.
3.
any of various plants resembling flax.
/flæks/
noun
1.
any herbaceous plant or shrub of the genus Linum, esp L. usitatissimum, which has blue flowers and is cultivated for its seeds (flaxseed) and for the fibres of its stems: family Linaceae
2.
the fibre of this plant, made into thread and woven into linen fabrics
3.
any of various similar plants
4.
(NZ) Also called harakeke. a swamp plant producing a fibre that is used by Māoris for decorative work, baskets, etc
n.

Old English fleax “cloth made with flax, linen,” from Proto-Germanic *flakhsan (cf. Old Frisian flax, Middle Dutch and Dutch vlas, Old Saxon flas, Old High German flahs, German Flachs), probably from Proto-Germanic base *fleh-, corresponding to PIE *plek- “to weave, plait” (see ply (v.1)). But some connect it with PIE *pleik- (see flay) from the notion of “stripping” fiber to prepare it.

(Heb. pishtah, i.e., “peeled”, in allusion to the fact that the stalks of flax when dried were first split or peeled before being steeped in water for the purpose of destroying the pulp). This plant was cultivated from earliest times. The flax of Egypt was destroyed by the plague of hail when it “was bolled”, i.e., was forming pods for seed (Ex. 9:31). It was extensively cultivated both in Egypt and Palestine. Reference is made in Josh. 2:6 to the custom of drying flax-stalks by exposing them to the sun on the flat roofs of houses. It was much used in forming articles of clothing such as girdles, also cords and bands (Lev. 13:48, 52, 59; Deut. 22:11). (See LINEN.)

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