A soft nappy woolen cloth of free texture
- bathtub linen consisting of a piece of cloth always clean the facial skin and the body
- (usually in the plural) trousers manufactured from flannel or gabardine or tweed or white cloth
- a soft light woolen textile; employed for clothes
- A soft, nappy, woolen cloth, of free texture.
"warm, loosely woven woolen material," c.1300, flaunneol, most likely associated with Middle English flanen "sackcloth" (c.1400); by Skeat and others traced to Welsh gwlanen "woolen cloth," from gwlan "wool," from Celtic *wlana, from PIE *wele- (1) "wool" (identify wool). "As flannel had been inside 16th c. a well-known production of Wales, a Welsh source when it comes to word seems antecedently likely" [OED]. The Welsh beginning isn't a universally accepted etymology, because of the sound changes involved; Barnhart, Gamillscheg, Diez recommend the English term is from an Anglo-French diminutive of Old French flaine "some sort of coarse wool." Modern French flanelle is a 17c. borrowing from English.
(n.) A soft, nappy, woolen cloth, of loose surface.
In 1895 almost a million persons (half of them women) were employed in this branch of industry, and in 1897 the value of the cloth, buckskin and flannel manufacture was estimated at 18,000,000.