a. A widely cultivated plant, Linum usitatissimum, having pale blue flowers, seeds that yield linseed oil, and slender stems from which a textile fiber is obtained.
b. The fine, light-colored textile fiber obtained from this plant.
c. Any of various other plants of the genus Linum or of other genera in the family Linaceae.
2. A pale grayish yellow.
[Middle English, fromOld Englishfleax; see plek- in the Appendix of Indo-European roots.]
(click for a larger image)flax
The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2018 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
Indo-European & Semitic Roots Appendices
Thousands of entries in the dictionary include etymologies that trace their origins back to reconstructed proto-languages. You can obtain more information about these forms in our online appendices:
The Indo-European appendix covers nearly half of the Indo-European roots that have left their mark on English words. A more complete treatment of Indo-European roots and the English words derived from them is available in our Dictionary of Indo-European Roots.