woolgathering was our Word of the Day on 12/13/2010. Hear the podcast!
Theme music by Joshua Stamper ©2006 New Jerusalem Music/ASCAP
Examples of woolgathering in a Sentence
my woolgathering was abruptly interrupted by a question from the flight attendant
Did You Know?
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.
First Known Use of woolgathering
Synonymsdaydreaming, study, trance, reverie
Related Wordscontemplation, meditation, musing; absentmindedness, absorption, abstraction, preoccupation; chimera, conceit, daydream, delusion, dream, fancy, fantasy (also phantasy), figment, hallucination, illusion, phantasm (also fantasm), pipe dream, unreality, vision
Seen and Heard
What made you want to look up woolgathering? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).