1. Bot. 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.
2. The skin or fibrous part of the flax plant, when broken and cleaned by hatcheling or combing.
Earth flax Min., amianthus.
Flax brake, a machine for removing the woody portion of flax from the fibrous.
Flax comb, a hatchel, hackle, or heckle.
Flax cotton, the fiber of flax, reduced by steeping in bicarbonate of soda and acidulated liquids, and prepared for bleaching and spinning like cotton. --Knight.
Flax dresser, one who breaks and swingles flax, or prepares it for the spinner.
Flax mill, a mill or factory where flax is spun or linen manufactured.
Flax puller, a machine for pulling flax plants in the field.
Flax wench. (a) A woman who spins flax. [Obs.] (b) A prostitute. [Obs.] --Shak.
Mountain flax Min., amianthus.
New Zealand flax Bot. See Flax-plant.
n 1: fiber of the flax plant that is made into thread and woven
into linen fabric
2: plant of the genus Linum that is cultivated for its seeds
and for the fibers of its stem
(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.)