[woo l-ee]

adjective, wool·i·er, wool·i·est, noun, plural wool·ies.

Related formswool·i·ness, noun


or wool·y

[woo l-ee]

adjective, wool·li·er, wool·li·est.

consisting of wool: a woolly fleece.
resembling wool in texture or appearance: woolly hair.
clothed or covered with wool or something resembling it: a woolly caterpillar.
Botany. covered with a pubescence of long, soft hairs resembling wool.
like the rough, vigorous atmosphere of the early West in America: wild and woolly.
fuzzy; unclear; disorganized: woolly thinking.

noun, plural wool·lies.

Western U.S. a wool-bearing animal; sheep.
Usually woollies. a knitted undergarment of wool or other fiber.
any woolen garment, as a sweater.
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. 2019

Examples from the Web for wooly

Contemporary Examples of wooly

Historical Examples of wooly

  • In other words, we were wild and wooly, but sincerely didn't know it.

    The Killer

    Stewart Edward White

  • The name is from the Greek meaning "wooly knees," in allusion to the wooly joints of the stem.

  • Their combined percentage of frizzly and wooly is 69, which is nearly 20 per cent less than that of the Fijians.

  • They stood about gracefully to be admired, with their wooly hair fluffed out at right angles to their head, for the occasion.

    Six Women

    Victoria Cross

  • The wooly covering of common mullein, for example, is made up of innumerable slender-branched hairs.

British Dictionary definitions for wooly


sometimes US wooly

adjective woollier or woolliest or sometimes US woolier or wooliest

consisting of, resembling, or having the nature of wool
covered or clothed in wool or something resembling it
lacking clarity or substancewoolly thinking
botany covered with long soft whitish hairswoolly stems
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

(often plural) a garment, such as a sweater, made of wool or something similar
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 wooly

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