Alternative formsEdit

  • wooly (chiefly used in the US, but less common than woolly even there)


  • IPA(key): /ˈwʊli/
  • (file)
  • Rhymes: -ʊli

Etymology 1Edit

From Middle English wolly, equivalent to wool +‎ -y. Cognate with Saterland Frisian wullich (woolly), Dutch wollig (woolly), German wollig (woolly), Swedish ullig (woolly).


woolly (comparative woollier, superlative woolliest)

  1. Made of wool.
    Put on a woolly jumper and turn down the thermostat.
  2. Having a thick, soft texture, as if made of wool.
    woolly hair
    There was nothing left in the fruit bowl but a brown banana and a couple of woolly pears.
  3. (figuratively) Of thinking, principles, etc, based on emotion rather than logic.
    That's the sort of woolly thinking that causes wars to start.
  4. (figuratively) Unclear, fuzzy, hazy, cloudy.
  5. (obsolete) Clothed in wool.
    • (Can we date this quote by Shakespeare and provide title, author's full name, and other details?)
      woolly breeders
Derived termsEdit


woolly (plural woollies)

  1. (informal) A sweater or similar garment made of wool.
    • 1965, James Holledge, What Makes a Call Girl?, London: Horwitz Publications, page 82:
      `I've got a rotten cold and I'm not taking my woollies off until it's better.'
  2. (US, slang) A sheep not yet shorn.
  3. A piece of woolwork.

Etymology 2Edit

From woolyback.


woolly (plural woollies)

  1. (Liverpudlian slang, derogatory) A woolly back; someone from the area around Liverpool, not from Liverpool itself.