a velvetlike pattern produced on wallpaper or cloth decorated with flock.

Origin of flocking

First recorded in 1870–75; flock2 + -ing1




a number of animals of one kind, especially sheep, goats, or birds, that keep or feed together or are herded together.
a large number of people; crowd.
a large group of things: a flock of letters to answer.
(in New Testament and ecclesiastical use)
  1. the Christian church in relation to Christ.
  2. a single congregation in relation to its pastor.
Archaic. a band or company of persons.

verb (used without object)

to gather or go in a flock or crowd: They flocked around the football hero.

Origin of flock

before 1000; (noun) Middle English; Old English floc; cognate with Old Norse flokkr; (v.) Middle English, derivative of the noun
Related formsflock·less, adjective

Synonyms for flock

1, 2. bevy, covey, flight, gaggle; brood, hatch, litter; shoal, school, swarm, group, company. Flock, drove, herd, pack refer to a company of animals, often under the care or guidance of someone. Flock is the popular term, which applies to groups of animals, especially of sheep or goats, and companies of birds: This lamb is the choicest of the flock. A flock of wild geese flew overhead. Drove is especially applied to a number of oxen, sheep, or swine when driven in a group: A drove of oxen was taken to market. A large drove of swine filled the roadway. Herd is usually applied to large animals such as cattle, originally meaning those under the charge of someone; but by extension, to other animals feeding or driven together: a buffalo herd; a herd of elephants. Pack applies to a number of animals kept together or keeping together for offense or defense: a pack of hounds kept for hunting; a pack of wolves. As applied to people, drove, herd, and pack carry a contemptuous implication.

Usage note




a lock or tuft of wool, hair, cotton, etc.
(sometimes used with a plural verb) wool refuse, shearings of cloth, old cloth torn to pieces, or the like, for upholstering furniture, stuffing mattresses, etc.
Also called flocking. (sometimes used with a plural verb) finely powdered wool, cloth, etc., used for producing a velvetlike pattern on wallpaper or cloth or for coating metal.

verb (used with object)

to stuff with flock, as a mattress.
to decorate or coat with flock, as wallpaper, cloth, or metal.

Origin of flock

1250–1300; Middle English flok < Old French floc < Latin floccus floccus. Compare Old High German floccho
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

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British Dictionary definitions for flocking



noun (sometimes functioning as plural)

a group of animals of one kind, esp sheep or birds
a large number of people; crowd
a body of Christians regarded as the pastoral charge of a priest, a bishop, the pope, etc
rare a band of people; group

verb (intr)

to gather together or move in a flock
to go in large numberspeople flocked to the church

Word Origin for flock

Old English flocc; related to Old Norse flokkr crowd, Middle Low German vlocke




a tuft, as of wool, hair, cotton, etc
  1. waste from fabrics such as cotton, wool, or other cloth used for stuffing mattresses, upholstered chairs, etc
  2. (as modifier)flock mattress
very small tufts of wool applied to fabrics, wallpaper, etc, to give a raised pattern
another word for floccule


(tr) to fill, cover, or ornament with flock
Derived Formsflocky, adjective

Word Origin for flock

C13: from Old French floc, from Latin floccus; probably related to Old High German floccho down, Norwegian flugsa snowflake
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 flocking



"tuft of wool," mid-13c., probably from Old French floc, from Latin floccus "flock of wool, lock of hair."



"gather, congregate," c.1300, from flock (n.). Related: Flocked; flocking.



Old English flocc "a group of persons, company, troop," related to Old Norse flokkr "crowd, troop, band," Middle Low German vlocke "crowd, flock (of sheep);" not found in other Germanic languages; perhaps related to folc "people," but the metathesis would have been unusual for Old English.

Extended c.1200 to "a number of animals of one kind moving or feeding together;" of domestic animals c.1300. Transferred to bodies of Christians, in relation to Christ or their local pastor, from mid-14c.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper