See also: Wool

English edit

A sheep being shorn for its wool.

Etymology edit

From Middle English wolle, from Old English wull, from Proto-West Germanic *wullu, from Proto-Germanic *wullō, from Proto-Indo-European *h₂wĺ̥h₁neh₂.

The vowel development uooo is purely graphical. Modern English generally avoids the string ‹wu› in favour of ‹wo›, and the resulting woll was then altered to wool (as supposedly better representing the pronunciation).

Pronunciation edit

Noun edit

wool (usually uncountable, plural wools)

  1. The hair of the sheep, llama and some other ruminants.
    • 2006, Nigel Guy Wilson, Ancient Greece, page 692:
      The sheep were caught and plucked, because shears had not yet been invented to cut the wool from the sheep's back.
  2. A cloth or yarn made from the wool of sheep.
    • 2009 January 12, Mireya Navarro, “It May Market Organic Alternatives, but Is Your Cleaner Really Greener?”, in New York Times:
      Spielvogel said wet cleaning also has limitations; while it is fine for cottons and fabrics worn in warm climates, he said, it can damage heavy wools or structured clothes like suit jackets.
  3. Anything with a texture like that of wool.
    • 1975, Anthony Julian Huxley, Plant and Planet, page 223:
      The groundsels have leaves covered in wool for insulation []
  4. A fine fiber obtained from the leaves of certain trees, such as firs and pines.
  5. (obsolete) Short, thick hair, especially when crisped or curled.
  6. (British, New Zealand) Yarn, including that made from synthetic fibers.
  7. (Liverpool, derogatory) A resident of a satellite town outside Liverpool, such as St Helens or Warrington. See also Yonner.
  8. (slang) A marijuana cigarette or cigar laced with crack cocaine.
    Synonyms: wooler, woolie
    • 1991 March 29, “Slow Down” (0:25 from the start), in One for All[1], performed by Brand Nubian:
      The object of your affection is the treetop connection / Where basically you love to smoke your wools
    • 2003 June 24, “Sabotage” (0:40 from the start), in The Ownerz[2], performed by Gang Starr:
      He rocked Caesar's chains, he pushed Caesar's Range / Smokin' mad wools all day, with Caesar's change
    • 2012, Chris Berdik, Mind Over Mind: The Surprising Power of Expectations, New York, N.Y.: Current, →ISBN, page 149:
      Lopez said the shooter's name was Lou, known on the street as Wool Lou, because he sold "wools," which were cigarettes rolled up with crack cocaine.

Hyponyms edit

Coordinate terms edit

Derived terms edit

Descendants edit

  • Japanese: ウール (ūru)

Translations edit

References edit

Further reading edit

Cornish edit

Noun edit


  1. Soft mutation of gool.

Tlingit edit

Noun edit


  1. hole