wool·​ly | \ ˈwu̇-lē How to pronounce woolly (audio) \
variants: or less commonly wooly
woollier; woolliest

Definition of woolly

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1a : resembling wool
b : of, relating to, or bearing wool
2a : lacking in clearness or sharpness of outline a woolly TV picture
b : marked by mental confusion woolly thinking
3 : marked by boisterous roughness or lack of order or restraint where the West is still woolly— Paul Schubert used especially in the phrase wild and woolly


wool·​ly | \ ˈwu̇-lē How to pronounce woolly (audio) \
variants: or less commonly wooly or woolie
plural woollies also woolies

Definition of woolly (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : a garment made from wool especially : underclothing of knitted wool usually used in plural
2 Western US and Australia : sheep

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Other Words from woolly


woollily \ ˈwu̇-​lə-​lē How to pronounce woolly (audio) \ adverb
woolliness noun

Synonyms for woolly

Synonyms: Adjective

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Examples of woolly in a Sentence

Adjective the dog's woolly coat will require a lot of grooming still had a water bed and a woolly coverlet on top of it Noun Get out your winter woollies.
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Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective Amid stay-at-home measures, when spas, salons and gyms closed, grays grew in, pounds were gained, mustaches became woolly and nails went unpolished. Fiorella Valdesolo, WSJ, "The Anxiety of Getting Back into Beauty Routines," 7 Apr. 2021 In the Brazilian Amazon, Awapu Uru Eu Wau Wau puts his life on the line to protect the riches of his ancestral lands: jaguars, endangered brown woolly monkeys, and natural springs from which 17 important rivers flow. New York Times, "There’s a Global Plan to Conserve Nature. Indigenous People Could Lead the Way.," 11 Mar. 2021 Texas is known for wild, unpredictable and woolly weather, but this is something else again. Washington Post, "Dan Rather on the Texas recovery — and how America can come together," 9 Mar. 2021 Ferlinghetti and a partner launched City Lights as the country’s first all-paperback bookstore in 1953, when Ginsberg, Jack Kerouac and other East Coast Beats began adding their woolly voices to the literary renaissance unfolding in San Francisco. Los Angeles Times, "Lawrence Ferlinghetti, poet and titan of the Beat era, dies at 101," 23 Feb. 2021 These animals were also already nearly as well adapted to the cold as their descendants, the woolly mammoths. John Timmer, Wired, "Million-Year-Old DNA Rewrites Mammoths' Evolutionary Tree," 21 Feb. 2021 This was the time of their predecessor, the ancient steppe mammoth, a species from Europe that scientists believe pre-dated both woolly mammoths and Columbian mammoths, a North American species. Doyle Rice, USA TODAY, "World's oldest DNA discovered in 1.2 million-year-old mammoth teeth, study says," 17 Feb. 2021 Across her 10-acre farm in Seguin, the many llamas short and tall, brown and white, spotted and solid poke their long woolly necks over farm fences and barn gates, each with its own tale of kindness. René A. Guzman, San Antonio Express-News, "South Texas llamas loved for their fuzziness and their fierceness in face of danger," 11 Feb. 2021 Her lifelong dream is to tour Lapland in a sleigh drawn by woolly dogs. Merve Emre, The New Yorker, "How Leonora Carrington Feminized Surrealism," 21 Dec. 2020

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'woolly.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of woolly


15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a


circa 1865, in the meaning defined at sense 1

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Time Traveler for woolly

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The first known use of woolly was in the 15th century

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Last Updated

12 Apr 2021

Cite this Entry

“Woolly.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/woolly. Accessed 9 May. 2021.

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More Definitions for woolly



English Language Learners Definition of woolly

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: covered with wool
chiefly British, informal : made of wool or resembling wool
chiefly British : confused and unclear



English Language Learners Definition of woolly (Entry 2 of 2)

chiefly British, informal : a warm piece of clothing (such as a sweater) made of knitted wool


wool·​ly | \ ˈwu̇-lē How to pronounce woolly (audio) \
woollier; woolliest

Kids Definition of woolly

: made of or resembling wool a woolly sweater a woolly wig

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Nglish: Translation of woolly for Spanish Speakers

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