wool·​gath·​er·​ing | \ ˈwu̇l-ˌga-t͟h(ə-)riŋ How to pronounce woolgathering (audio) , -ˌge-t͟h(ə-)riŋ \

Definition of woolgathering

: indulgence in idle daydreaming

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Synonyms for woolgathering


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Woolgathering once literally referred to the act of gathering loose tufts of wool that had gotten caught on bushes and fences as sheep passed by. Woolgatherers must have seemed to wander aimlessly, gaining little for their efforts, for in the mid-16th century "woolgathering" began to appear in figurative phrases such as "my wits (or my mind) went a-woolgathering" - in other words, "my mind went wandering aimlessly." From there, it wasn't long before the word woolgathering came to suggest the act of indulging in purposeless mind-wandering.

Examples of woolgathering in a Sentence

my woolgathering was abruptly interrupted by a question from the flight attendant

First Known Use of woolgathering

1553, in the meaning defined above

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The first known use of woolgathering was in 1553

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Cite this Entry

“Woolgathering.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/woolgathering. Accessed 26 Feb. 2020.

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