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fleece

[flees]
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noun
  1. the coat of wool that covers a sheep or a similar animal.
  2. the wool shorn from a sheep at one shearing.
  3. something resembling a fleece: a fleece of clouds in a blue sky.
  4. a fabric with a soft, silky pile, used for warmth, as for lining garments.
  5. the soft nap or pile of such a fabric.
verb (used with object), fleeced, fleec·ing.
  1. to deprive of money or belongings by fraud, hoax, or the like; swindle: He fleeced the stranger of several dollars.
  2. to remove the fleece of (a sheep).
  3. to overspread, as with a fleece; fleck with fleecelike masses: a host of clouds fleecing the summer sky.

Origin of fleece

before 1000; Middle English flees, Old English flēos, flȳs; cognate with Middle Dutch vlies, Middle High German vlius, German Vlies
Related formsfleece·a·ble, adjectivefleece·less, adjectivefleece·like, adjectivefleec·er, noun
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

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British Dictionary definitions for fleece

fleece

noun
  1. the coat of wool that covers the body of a sheep or similar animal and consists of a mass of crinkly hairs
  2. the wool removed from a single sheep
  3. something resembling a fleece in texture or warmth
  4. sheepskin or a fabric with soft pile, used as a lining for coats, etc
  5. a warm polyester fabric with a brushed nap, used for outdoor garments
  6. a jacket or top made from such a fabric
verb (tr)
  1. to defraud or charge exorbitantly; swindle
  2. another term for shear (def. 1)

Word Origin

Old English flēos; related to Middle High German vlius, Dutch vlies fleece, Latin plūma feather, down
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012

Word Origin and History for fleece

n.

Old English fleos, from West Germanic *flusaz (cf. Middle Dutch vluus, Dutch vlies, Middle High German vlius, German Vlies), probably from PIE *pleus- "to pluck," also "a feather, fleece" (cf. Latin pluma "feather, down," Lithuanian plunksna "feather").

v.

1530s in the literal sense of "to strip a sheep of fleece;" 1570s in the figurative meaning "to cheat, swindle," from fleece (n.). Related: Fleeced; fleecing.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

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