Definitions

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

  • n. A soft woven cloth of wool or a blend of wool and cotton or synthetics.
  • n. Outer clothing, especially trousers, made of this cloth.
  • n. Underclothing made of this cloth.
  • n. Flannelette.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. A soft cloth material woven from wool, possibly combined with cotton or synthetic fibers.
  • n. A washcloth.
  • adj. made of flannel
  • v. to rub with a flannel
  • v. to flatter; suck up to

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. A soft, nappy, woolen cloth, of loose texture.
  • n. a cotton fabric with a thick nap on one side, resembling flannel{1}; it is used, e. g. for underwear or sheets; also called flanellette.
  • n. garments made of flannel, especially underwear.
  • n. a washcloth.
  • n. humbug; nonsensical or evasive talk.
  • n. insincere flattery or praise.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. A warm loosely woven woolen stuff used especially for undergarments, bed-covering, etc., but also to some extent for outer garments, in styles adapted for that purpose. Some flannels have both sides alike; others have a long nap on one side and none on the other.
  • n. A warming drink; hot gin and beer seasoned with nutmeg, sugar, etc.
  • n. A person of homely or uncouth dress, exterior, or manners.
  • Made of flannel; consisting of flannel: as, flannel clothing.

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

  • n. bath linen consisting of a piece of cloth used to wash the face and body
  • n. a soft light woolen fabric; used for clothing
  • n. (usually in the plural) trousers made of flannel or gabardine or tweed or white cloth

Etymologies

Middle English, a kind of woolen cloth or garment, perhaps variant of flanyn, sackcloth, probably from Old French flaine, a kind of coarse wool.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
Middle English flaunneol, from Anglo-Norman flanelle (cf. Jersiais flianné), diminutive of Old French flaine, floene 'coarse wool', from Gaulish vlanā ‘wool’ (cf. Welsh gwlân, Breton gloan). More at wool. (Wiktionary)

Examples

  • If he did not already wear flannel waistcoats, let it be winter or summer, I should recommend him immediately to do so: if it be winter, I should advise him also to take to _flannel_ drawers.

    Advice to a Mother on the Management of Her Children

  • It has an independent drugstore; men in flannel browsing around the Power Center, which sells lawn mowers and chain saws; and four kinds of potato salad in the Piggly Wiggly.

    Fear, frustration reign at the polls

  • You think Han Solo would look better in flannel cause he looks a little sissy in that vest.

    SciFi, Fantasy & Horror Collectibles - Part 1037

  • If you're going to be a bunch of beards in flannel shirts like every other hipster group you should at least have some original stuff and come out swinging.

    Last Night « PubliCola

  • Across the street, a mysterious arm clad in flannel pulls the curtain aside to watch the girls go into the house.

    Movie: Sorority House Massacre 2 « Michael in Nashville

  • A hot stone wrapped in Welsh flannel for the sick man's feet, a long and vigorous rub for chest and throat and ribs, down to the waist, with an ointment of goose-grease impregnated with mustard and other heat-giving herbs, and chest and throat then swathed in a strip of the same flannel, cool cloths on the dry forehead, and a hot draught of wine mulled with spices and borage and other febrifuge herbs.

    Monk's Hood

  • The philosophers dressed themselves in flannel shirts, and built themselves a rough shelter in the Adirondacks.

    Runner of the Mountain Tops: The Life of Louis Agassiz

  • There was suspicion in the gesture with which, when we were back in the drawing-room he picked up the flannel from the work-table.

    The Return of the Soldier

  • The whole business – followed by highwaymen in flannel shirts and revolvers.

    Tish

  • There were other loafers in flannel shirts, hitched up trousers and greasy felt or cabbage-tree hats, and there were two or three blacks of the demoralised type seen in coast townships.

    Lady Bridget in the Never-Never Land

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