floss

1 of 2

noun

ˈfläs How to pronounce floss (audio)
ˈflȯs
1
a
: soft thread of silk or mercerized cotton for embroidery
2
: fluffy fibrous material

floss

2 of 2

verb

flossed; flossing; flosses

transitive verb

: to use dental floss on

intransitive verb

: to use dental floss

Examples of floss in a Sentence

Noun used cotton floss to simulate Santa's beard Verb My dentist told me I should floss more often.
Recent Examples on the Web
Noun
Find it on Amazon Keep Your Small Items Protected With This Storage Box Optimize your organization with the perfect storage solution for small items like Q-tips, floss picks, and hair ties – the stackable Storage Box. Hyphensocial Contributors, Rolling Stone, 21 Feb. 2024 In addition to using floss and a good toothbrush, picking the right toothpaste is key to having good oral hygiene. Elizabeth Robinson, NBC News, 3 Jan. 2024 On social media and in chat groups, hundreds of thousands of Hong Kongers talk about new food offerings in Shenzhen like pastries filled with seaweed and pork floss. Olivia Wang, New York Times, 20 Feb. 2024 The grease-free mound is so light it practically levitates, and the fluffy white grains are scattered with pungent cilantro and what look like wood shavings (dry tofu floss) for delightful contrast. Tom Sietsema, Washington Post, 19 Jan. 2024 There are different compartments on the bag to hold toothbrushes, shampoo bottles, floss, lotion, etc. Moriah Mason, Southern Living, 12 Dec. 2023 Ply There are six plies of thread in one strand of embroidery floss. Sarah Martens, Better Homes & Gardens, 2 Aug. 2023 Araya also catalogs champion trees — the largest specimens in the state or even the country — wherever his work takes him, which is all across L.A. One of his favorite specimens to send fellow arborists out to is the towering silk floss in back of Yamaguchi Bonsai Nursery in Sawtelle. Ryan Bradley, Los Angeles Times, 29 Jan. 2024 These include a toothbrush, toothpaste, floss, body wipes, and deodorant. Kelsey Glennon, Travel + Leisure, 18 Dec. 2023
Verb
Yet, small details like a nut allergy and a flossing habit begin to alert Daniela that something is very off with her husband. Aramide Tinubu, Variety, 8 May 2024 Or even an annoying habit like flossing your teeth in public. Haben Kelati, Washington Post, 17 Apr. 2024 The Most Shocking Airplane Incidents of 2023: From Severe Turbulence with Matthew McConaughey to Diarrhea-gate During the flight, the lady does not cut her toenails or floss her teeth. Lizz Schumer, Peoplemag, 10 Apr. 2024 Practicing good oral hygiene by brushing your teeth consistently, flossing, and visiting the dentist regularly can reduce the risk of your oral microbiome becoming imbalanced. Claire Bugos, Verywell Health, 8 Apr. 2024 Who are water flossers best for? Are there any other flossing alternatives? Annie Blackman, Allure, 2 Apr. 2024 If that’s the case, Khan says to floss first and then rinse your mouth with water. Popular Science, 14 Mar. 2024 Make sure to brush and floss your teeth regularly to clear out bacteria that could contribute to pain.10 Does Everyone Get PMS? Anthea Levi, Health, 16 Mar. 2024 Set and Gunna weave through the Big Apple and take over the 5th Avenue Prada location to turn the luxury store into a private photo shoot, flossing their favorite designer garments. Michael Saponara, Billboard, 15 Mar. 2024

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'floss.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

Etymology

Noun

probably borrowed from Occitan (Languedoc or an adjacent area) flos "loose, untwisted (of silk)," going back to Latin fluxus "flowing, liquid, flabby, soft," from past participle of fluere "to flow" — more at fluid entry 1

Note: The English word apparently first occurs in Samuel Pullein's The Culture of Silk: Or, an Essay on its Rational Practice and Improvement (London, 1758). Pullein is unclear as to his sources, but he seems to have been familiar with silk production and the cultivation of mulberry trees in southeastern France and northwestern Italy. He uses the word both as an independent noun and in the collocation floss silk, which corresponds to French soie floche, Occitan sedo flusso (thus in Mistral, Lou tresor dóu Felibrige), and Italian seta floscia. French floche, which on phonetic grounds is unlikely to be the direct source of the English word, is traced to Gascon in Französisches etymologisches Wörterbuch, though Gascony was not a major center of silk production.

Verb

derivative of floss entry 1

First Known Use

Noun

1759, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

Verb

1974, in the meaning defined at transitive sense

Time Traveler
The first known use of floss was in 1759

Dictionary Entries Near floss

Cite this Entry

“Floss.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/floss. Accessed 27 May. 2024.

Kids Definition

floss

1 of 2 noun
ˈfläs How to pronounce floss (audio)
ˈflȯs
1
a
: soft silk or cotton thread used for embroidery
2
: fluffy material full of fibers

floss

2 of 2 verb
: to use dental floss on (one's teeth)

Medical Definition

floss

1 of 2 noun

floss

2 of 2 transitive verb
: to use dental floss on (one's teeth)
the correct way to floss your teeth

intransitive verb

: to use dental floss
flosses daily

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