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[muh-ree-noh] /məˈri noʊ/
noun, plural merinos.
(often initial capital letter) one of a breed of sheep, raised originally in Spain, valued for their fine wool.
wool from such sheep.
a yarn or fabric made from this wool.
made of merino wool, yarn, or cloth.
Origin of merino
1775-85; < Spanish < Arabic (banū) marīn a Berber tribe known for raising this breed Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for merino
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • These wools are suitable for almost all classes of merino and crossbred yarns.


    William H. Dooley
  • On account of the climate, the quality of the wool, much of it merino, is excellent.

    Commercial Geography

    Jacques W. Redway
  • He was one of those who brought with them merino sheep into the colony.

    The Fixed Period

    Anthony Trollope
  • merino is related to mayor, which comes, through French, from Lat.

  • The story of merino wool is one of the romances of modern industry.

  • It is only on the hot plains that the merino sheep flourishes to perfection.

  • But Dolly only laughed the more as she took the merino from him.

    Vagabondia Frances Hodgson Burnett
  • "If you want a breadth of merino to hold, take another one," she said.

    Vagabondia Frances Hodgson Burnett
  • We had circassian frocks for every day, and merino for Sundays.

    When Grandmamma Was New Marion Harland
British Dictionary definitions for merino


noun (pl) -nos
a breed of sheep, originating in Spain, bred for their fleece
the long fine wool of this sheep
the yarn made from this wool, often mixed with cotton
(Austral, informal) pure merino
  1. (history) a free settler rather than a convict
  2. an affluent and socially prominent person
  3. (as modifier): a pure merino cricketer
made from merino wool
Word Origin
C18: from Spanish, origin uncertain
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 merino

fine-wool breed of sheep, 1781, from Spanish merino, possibly from Arabic Merini, a Berber family or tribe of sheep farmers in northwest Africa whose animals were imported into Spain 14c.-15c. to improve local breeds. Or from or influenced by Latin majorinus, from major "greater," either in reference to size of the animals or from Spanish derivative merino (n.) "overseer of cattle pastures," also a title of judicial officers. Applied from early 19c. to the wool itself and to various articles made from it.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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