I looked up this word in the hopes that there would be oriental origins, and I wasn't disappointed. Silk came from the Old English word seoloc, which came from the Latin word sericum, both of which had the current definition. Before that, it gets interesting. This came from the Greek serikos, later meaning "silken" and metynomically shifting from the earlier definition, which was "concerning the Seres people", a group in Asia who sold the silks to China. The etymological history at this point gets rather blurred, but most of my sources make a further connection to an unknown Mongolian word, which draws from the Chinese word si, meaning "silk". According to Chinese mythology, this came from the Goddess of Silk, the wife of an imaginary emperor who invented the material, but this can be discredited from a linguistic standpoint; it probably either came from earlier Chinese or Sino-Tibetan, but in any case the word silk followed the Silk Road to get to Europe (a term coined only in the twentieth century).
Hello! I'm Adam Aleksic, a senior studying government and linguistics at Harvard University, where I co-founded the Harvard Undergraduate Linguistics Society. In addition to etymology, I also really enjoy trivia, politics, vexillology, geography, board games, conlanging, art history, and law.