Definitions

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

  • n. A soft, light cotton material, often with a woven stripe.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. A soft, fine muslin of South Asian origin, sometimes used to make baby clothes.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. A thick sort of jaconet muslin, plain or striped, formerly made in India.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. A kind of muslin similar to jaconet, but thicker, originally made in Bengal. It is made both plain and striped, the stripe running the length of the stuff.

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

  • n. a soft lightweight muslin used especially for babies

Etymologies

From Hindi nainsukh, pleasant : nain, eye (from Sanskrit nayanam, from nayati, he leads) + sukh, pleasure (from Sanskrit sukha-, running easily (of chariots), pleasant : su-, good; + kham, opening, axle-hole in the nave of a wheel).
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
From Hindi नैनसुख (nainsukh), from नैन (nain, "eye") + सुख (sukh, "pleasure, luxury"). (Wiktionary)

Examples

  • Slips are usually made of some very soft material such as nainsook, batiste, pearline, or sheer lawn cloth.

    The Mother and Her Child

  • “‘And yourself, she thought in her nainsook, you want him to be Uncle Remus goes to war, then the old happy fishing patriot.’”

    Miracles, Inc.

  • At home it had been so clear that for six dressing jackets there would be needed twenty-four yards of nainsook at sixteen pence the yard, which was a matter of thirty shillings besides the cutting-out and making, and these thirty shillings had been saved.

    Anna Karenina

  • The finest and softest of French and Scotch flannels, French linen, dimity, nainsook, and India silk are always dainty and they should be made up very simply with little trimming, but that of the finest.

    Textiles and Clothing

  • During the summer months nainsook caps or other thin materials are to be preferred to the heavy crocheted caps that are sometimes worn by babies.

    The Mother and Her Child

  • She wore a white duck skirt, a soft nainsook blouse open at the throat, the sailor collar knotted with a red silk scarf.

    Peggy Stewart at School

  • The striped and plaid nainsook are used for the same purposes.

    Textiles For Commercial, Industrial, and Domestic Arts Schools; Also Adapted to Those Engaged in Wholesale and Retail Dry Goods, Wool, Cotton, and Dressmaker's Trades

  • I went everywhere for your French nainsook, but every shop was just out of it.

    At Home with the Jardines

  • The framework and ribs were made entirely of Riga pine; the surface fabric was nainsook.

    A History of Aeronautics

  • When he had gone, she cleaned all of her toilet silver, and ran ribbons into nicely embroidered nainsook things, and put her pillows in the sun and tied up her head and swept and dusted, and when she had made everything shining, she had a bit of lunch on a tray, and then she washed her hair.

    Mistress Anne

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  • "She leaned back to look at the shower of colors high in the sky, cupping one knee in her hands, and as he was the only one there to see, offered him the sight of her legs, her blue garters and white nainsook knickers, while something dark and soft slid across the lake of the sky, O! she trembled in all her limbs from leaning so far back, O! the blinding flash and a cascade of stars and dew gushed out and melted in the gray air around the main in black outlined against the rock."

    The House of Ulysses by Julián Ríos, translated by Nick Caistor, p 179

    December 27, 2010