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[lin-zee-woo l-zee] /ˈlɪn ziˈwʊl zi/
noun, plural linsey-woolseys.
a coarse fabric woven from linen warp, or sometimes cotton, and coarse wool filling.
a garment made from this.
Archaic. any mixture that is incongruous or of poor quality; jumble:
That last speech was a linsey-woolsey of stale platitudes.
Also called linsey.
Origin of linsey-woolsey
late Middle English
1425-75; late Middle English lynsy wolsye literally, linen cloth, wool cloth, equivalent to lyn (Old English līn; see linen) + -sy, variant of say cloth (< Old French saie; akin to Medieval Latin sagia kind of weave, Latin sagum cloak) + wol wool + -sye, variant of say Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for linsey-woolsey
Historical Examples
  • The literature of China is, happily, not all linsey-woolsey.

    Moon Lore Timothy Harley
  • She was dressed in linsey-woolsey, and the overalls of the three sons were also home-spun.

    Hunters Out of Space Joseph Everidge Kelleam
  • Your labor is too skilled by far to manufacture bagging and linsey-woolsey.

  • Four yards of linsey-woolsey, a yard in width, made a dress for any woman.

  • The coats of the men were home-made; the materials, jeans or linsey-woolsey.

  • You see I was in my linsey-woolsey frock, not dressed for company.

    Boys and Girls of Colonial Days Carolyn Sherwin Bailey
  • We have too much of the linsey-woolsey type of religion in our day.

    The Palm Tree Blessing W. E. Shepard
  • His coat, moreover, is as torn as his linsey-woolsey jonquil hose.

    The Iron Pincers Eugne Sue
  • linsey-woolsey, a mixture of linen and woollen, is still in use.

    The Making of William Edwards Mrs. G. Linnaeus Banks
  • Any ordinary manner, in comparison with Mr. Downie Meek's, would be as linsey-woolsey to three-pile velvet!

    Roland Cashel Charles James Lever
British Dictionary definitions for linsey-woolsey


a thin rough fabric of linen warp and coarse wool or cotton filling
a strange nonsensical mixture or confusion
Word Origin
C15: probably from Lindsey, Suffolk village where the fabric was first made + wool (with rhyming suffix -sey)
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
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Word Origin and History for linsey-woolsey

late 15c., originally a cloth woven from linen and wool; the words altered for the sake of a jingling sound. Linsey is attested from mid-15c., apparently meaning "coarse linen fabric." Some sources suggest a connection or influence from the place name Lindsey in Suffolk.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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