wooly

[woo l-ee]
Related formswool·i·ness, noun

woolly

or wool·y

[woo l-ee]
adjective, wool·li·er, wool·li·est.
  1. consisting of wool: a woolly fleece.
  2. resembling wool in texture or appearance: woolly hair.
  3. clothed or covered with wool or something resembling it: a woolly caterpillar.
  4. Botany. covered with a pubescence of long, soft hairs resembling wool.
  5. like the rough, vigorous atmosphere of the early West in America: wild and woolly.
  6. fuzzy; unclear; disorganized: woolly thinking.
noun, plural wool·lies.
  1. Western U.S. a wool-bearing animal; sheep.
  2. Usually woollies. a knitted undergarment of wool or other fiber.
  3. any woolen garment, as a sweater.
  4. Dialect. a dust ball.

Origin of woolly

First recorded in 1580–90; wool + -y1
Related formswool·li·ness, noun

Regional variation note

10. See dust ball.
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for woolies

Historical Examples of woolies

  • I try not to look at them because they are so much like witch heads they give me the woolies.

    The Big Time

    Fritz Reuter Leiber

  • They figure on keeping this county just as it is, for only themselves and their cattle and woolies, and everybody else keep out.


British Dictionary definitions for woolies

woolly

sometimes US wooly

adjective woollier or woolliest or sometimes US woolier or wooliest
  1. consisting of, resembling, or having the nature of wool
  2. covered or clothed in wool or something resembling it
  3. lacking clarity or substancewoolly thinking
  4. botany covered with long soft whitish hairswoolly stems
  5. US recalling the rough and lawless period of the early West of America (esp in the phrase wild and woolly)
noun plural woollies or sometimes US woolies
  1. (often plural) a garment, such as a sweater, made of wool or something similar
  2. Western US and Australian (usually plural) an informal word for sheep
Derived Formswoollily, adverbwoolliness, noun
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 woolies

wooly

adj.

also woolly, 1570s, "resembling or made of wool," from wool + -y (2). Meaning "barbarous, rude" is recorded 1891, from wild and wooly (1884) applied to the U.S. western frontier, perhaps in reference to range steers or to unkempt cowboys.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper