• A kitten plays with a ball of wool
    A kitten plays with a ball of wool
  • WordNet 3.6
    • n wool outer coat of especially sheep and yaks
    • n wool a fabric made from the hair of sheep
    • n wool fiber sheared from animals (such as sheep) and twisted into yarn for weaving
    • ***

Additional illustrations & photos:

Wool-sorters at Work Wool-sorters at Work

Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary
  • Interesting fact: The cardigan was originally made to be a military jacket made of knitted wool
    • Wool (Bot) A sort of pubescence, or a clothing of dense, curling hairs on the surface of certain plants.
    • Wool Short, thick hair, especially when crisped or curled. "Wool of bat and tongue of dog."
    • Wool The soft and curled, or crisped, species of hair which grows on sheep and some other animals, and which in fineness sometimes approaches to fur; -- chiefly applied to the fleecy coat of the sheep, which constitutes a most essential material of clothing in all cold and temperate climates.
    • ***
Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia
  • Interesting fact: More than 100 years ago, the felt hat makers of England used mercury to stabilize wool. Most of them eventually became poisoned by the fumes, as demonstrated by the Mad Hatter in Lewis Carroll's Alice in Wonderland. Breathing mercury's fumes over a long period of time will cause erethism, a disorder characterized by nervousness, irritability, and strange personality changes.
    • n wool See the extract.
    • n wool The fine, soft, curly hair which forms the fleece or fleecy coat of the sheep and some other animals, as the goat and alpaca, in fineness approaching fur. The wool or fleece of the sheep furnishes the most important material for clothing in all cold and temperate climates. The felting property from which wool derives its chief value, and which is its special distinction from hair, depends in part upon the kinks in the shaft or fiber, but mainly upon the scales with which the surface is imbricated. These scales are minute, from about 2,000 to nearly 4,000 to the inch, and whorled about the stem in verticils; the stem itself is extremely slender, being less than one thousandth of an inch in diameter. Wool is kept soft and pliable by the wool-oil, commonly called yolk. In different animals wool shades by imperceptible degrees into hair; and that of the sheep simply represents an extreme case of the most desirable qualities', namely, fineness, kinkiness, and scaliness of the fiber, together with its length, strength, and luster, and the copiousness of the fleece, which consists entirely of wool, without hair; in all of which particulars the wool of the different breeds of sheep varies to a degree. (Compare def. 2.) Wool when shorn is divided into two classes, short wool, or carding-wool, seldom exceeding a length of 3 or 4 inches, and long wool, or combing-wool, varying in length from 4 to 8 inches, each class being subdivided into a variety of sorts, according to the fineness and soundness of the staple. The finest wools are of short staple, and the coarser wools usually of long staple. Wools which unite a high degree of fineness and softness with considerable length of staple bear a high price. English-bred sheep produce a good, strong combing-wool, that of the Scotch breeds being somewhat harsher and coarser. The finest carding-wools were formerly exclusively obtained from Spain, the native country of the merino sheep, and at a later period extensively from Germany, where that breed had been successfully introduced and cultivated. Immense flocks of merinos are now reared in Australia, North and South America, and South Africa.
    • n wool The fine, short, thick underfur or down of any animal, as distinguished from the longer and stiffer hairs which come to the surface of the pelage. Most hairy animals have at least two coats, one of long and comparatively straight, stout, stiff hairs, the other of wool. See underfur.
    • n wool The short, crisp, curly or kinky hair of the head of some persons, as negroes; humorously, the hair of any person's head.
    • n wool Any light, downy, fleecy, or flocculent sub stance resembling wool. The dense furry or woolly coat of many insects, as the pubescence covering the moths known as millers, that on various caterpillars', that spun by various larvæ for a case or cocoon, etc. Secretions of various insects are very nicely graded from a solid waxy consistency through various frothy states to a light dry fleecy condition resembling wool: see wax-insect, spittle-insect, and woolly aphis (under woolly). In another large class of cases the spun-out secretion is gossamer, cobweb, or true silk. See these words, and silkworm.
    • wool To pull the hair of, in sport or anger; rumple or tousle the hair of.
    • ***
Chambers's Twentieth Century Dictionary
  • Interesting fact: It is recorded that the Babylonians were making soap around 2800 B.C. and that it was known to the Phoenicians around 600 B.C. These early references to soap and soap making were for the use of soap in the cleaning of textile fibers such as wool and cotton in preparation for weaving into cloth.
    • n Wool wool the soft, curly hair of sheep and other animals: short, thick hair: any light, fleecy substance resembling wool
    • adj Wool dreamy: listless
    • n Wool cloth made of wool
    • ***


  • Harry F. Banks
    Harry F. Banks
    “Where does virgin wool come from? The sheep that runs the fastest.”
  • Frederick Douglass
    Frederick Douglass
    “I am a Republican, a black, dyed in the wool Republican, and I never intend to belong to any other party than the party of freedom and progress.”


Dyed-in-the-wool - If someone is a dyed-in-the-wool supporter of a political party, etc, they support them totally, without any questions.
Pull the wool over someone's eyes - If you pull the wool over someone's eyes, you deceive or cheat them.


Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary
OE. wolle, wulle, AS. wull,; akin to D. wol, OHG. wolla, G. wolle, Icel. & Sw. ull, Dan. uld, Goth, wulla, Lith. vilna, Russ. volna, L. vellus, Skr. ūrṇā, wool, vṛ, to cover. √146, 287. Cf. Flannel Velvet


In literature:

Stuff made of wool and hair.
"The Sailor's Word-Book" by William Henry Smyth
Added to that, the wool was of coarse, harsh quality and the dyeing was badly done.
"The Tapestry Book" by Helen Churchill Candee
What was this one doing wool-gathering in Egypt?
"Hopes and Fears scenes from the life of a spinster" by Charlotte M. Yonge
He is a highly respectable elderly party, who deals in wool.
"A Black Adonis" by Linn Boyd Porter
It often drew tears from my eyes, to see her hanging with such fondness over a few bones, mixed with a small portion of wool.
"Minnie's Pet Lamb" by Madeline Leslie
The finest Peruvian pellones are made of a mixture of sheep's wool and goat's hair.
"Travels in Peru, on the Coast, in the Sierra, Across the Cordilleras and the Andes, into the Primeval Forests" by J. J. von Tschudi
That nettled me and, instead, I made a plunge for a big wether and fastened both hands into his wool.
"When Life Was Young" by C. A. Stephens
And she wraps me in cotton-wool from head to foot.
"Jewish Children" by Sholem Naumovich Rabinovich
I don't know how we shall get along without her wool for spinning.
"Here and Now Story Book" by Lucy Sprague Mitchell
The principal articles of import are cotton and cotton goods, wool and woollen goods, silk and silk goods, coffee, tobacco and metals.
"Encyclopaedia Britannica, 11th Edition, Volume 3, Part 1, Slice 1" by Various

In poetry:

Ingerid Sletten of Sillejord
Neither gold nor silver did own,
But a little hood of gay wool alone,
Her mother had given of yore.
"Ingerid Sletten" by Bjornstjerne Bjornson
I did not think
So much was there. He'll not get all
For wool and loom; I will not wrong myself;
As much as half is fair.
"The Miracle Of The Corn" by Padraic Colum
A little hood of gay wool alone,
With no braid nor lining, was here;
But parent love made it ever dear,
And brighter than gold it shone.
"Ingerid Sletten" by Bjornstjerne Bjornson
Make a cable of hemp and a cable of wool
And a cable of maidens' hair,
And hie thee back to the roaring pool
And anchor in safety there.
"Legend of The Corrievrechan" by George MacDonald
With willing hands she works in flax,
In wool, and many other things,
And, rising early in the morn,
Her household's portion duly brings.
"A Virtuous Woman" by Thomas Frederick Young
Here on the porch when the work was done,
Sat with a young girl, (not like me,)
Her heart was light as the wool she spun,
And her laughter merry as it could be;
"Little Cyrus" by Alice Cary

In news:

A trip with her mother to the Maryland Sheep and Wool Festival this year was not something that interested her a great deal.
Taylor Howman, 10, of Wooster, was awarded a Border Leicester ewe , Alisa, at the Maryland Sheep and Wool Festival on May 6.
Yarn Lion Brand Wool (Art 820) 100% wool.
This time around, wool makes lighter, softer fabric for outdoor apparel.
Bottega Veneta's boiled-wool skirt suit features color-blocked brights.
Does Romney's staff really think that only dyed-in-the-wool republicans follow his campaign.
ASI Contracted by Natick to Develop a New Wool/Aramid Fabric.
Wool felt in fall colors to match your table runner ?
Taylor Howman, 10, of Wooster, was awarded a Border Leicester ewe, Alisa, at the Maryland Sheep and Wool Festival on May 6.
Plaid wool cap, $98.50 at Paul Stuart.
Gilbert joined Tai Ping in 2008 to lead the design of the company's new wool carpet tile division.
Wool-felt specialist Claudy Jongstra hails from a rural corner of the Netherlands.
The company's new store will feature apparel and home furnishings, including Pendleton's signature woven- wool blankets inspired by Native American graphics.
If sheep are covered in wool, why don't they shrink when they get wet.

In science:

Since the hammer is made of wool felt, it has some elasticity.
Analysis on the relations between piano touch and tone
Before testing, the components of the couplers were cleaned in a Class-1000 clean area. The outer conductors were rinsed with deionized-water (DI) and allowed to dry in the cleanroom. Using Gauge-32 copper wool, the inner conductors were scrubbed with DI water and methanol.
High-Power Testing of the APT Power Coupler
Multiscale displacement field measurements of compressed mineral-wool samples by digital image correlation.
A study of localisation in dual-phase high-strength steels under dynamic loading using digital image correlation and FE analysis
Rather, they stick to the policy of ignoring criticism, apparently in the hope of pulling the wool over the eyes of an uncritical public.
Figure 7: Photo of a piece of superconductor (wrapped in cotton wool and yellow sticky tape for thermal insulation) levitating above a magnetic track.
The Wonders of Levitation