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

  • n. A smooth fabric, as of silk or rayon, woven with a glossy face and a dull back.
  • n. A garment made of this fabric.
  • adj. Made of or covered with satin.
  • adj. Glossy, sleek, and smooth.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • adj. Semi-glossy. Particularly describing a type of paint.
  • n. A cloth woven from silk, nylon or polyester with a glossy surface and a dull back. (The same weaving technique applied to cotton produces cloth termed sateen).

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. A silk cloth, of a thick, close texture, and overshot woof, which has a glossy surface.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. A silk material of which the surface is very glossy, and the back not as lustrous as the face.
  • Made of satin: as, a satin dress.
  • Of the nature of satin; pertaining to or resembling satin; having a satin surface.
  • To give a satin finish to; make smooth and glossy on the surface like satin.
  • n. A yellow mixture applied to the flesh side of a hide or skin to get a yellow back.

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

  • n. a smooth fabric of silk or rayon; has a glossy face and a dull back


Middle English, from Old French, probably from Arabic ('aṭlas) zaytūnī, (satin) of Zaitun, from Zaytūn, probably Tsinkiang (Quanzhou), China.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
From Old French satin, perhaps from Arabic الساتان زيتون ("satin from Zaitun"), a city in China, perhaps 新疆, Tsinkiang in the Fukien province, a port during the middle ages. The word's form is perhaps influenced by French seta ("silk"). OED finds the Arabic theory insupportable and instead suggests the French word as coming directly from Latin. (Wiktionary)



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