From Old English fleax, from Proto-Germanic *flahsą, from Proto-Indo-European *pleḱ- (“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.
flax (plural flaxes)
- 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.
- The fibers of Linum usitatissimum, grown to make linen and related textiles.
- The flax bush, a plant of the genus Phormium, native to New Zealand, with strap-like leaves up to 3 metres long that grow in clumps.