woolly

1 of 2

adjective

wool·​ly ˈwu̇-lē How to pronounce woolly (audio)
variants or less commonly wooly
woollier; woolliest
1
a
: resembling wool
b
: of, relating to, or bearing wool
2
a
: 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 woollyPaul Schubert
used especially in the phrase wild and woolly
woollily adverb
woolliness noun

woolly

2 of 2

noun

wool·​ly ˈwu̇-lē How to pronounce woolly (audio)
variants or less commonly wooly or woolie
plural woollies also woolies
1
: a garment made from wool
especially : underclothing of knitted wool
usually used in plural
2
Western US and Australia : sheep

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.
Recent Examples on the Web
Adjective
Textures of Spring Fashion: From woolly tweeds to smooth silk, tactile fabrics make for a highly sensational season. Mari Maeda and Yuji Oboshi, New York Times, 19 Mar. 2024 Leave a comment View Comments The woolly bear — a species of caterpillar, also called the woolly worm — famously is thought to forecast the severity of the impending winter with its colored bands. Jackie Wattles, CNN, 2 Feb. 2024 Throughout the spring and summer months, cutthroat will eagerly take flies ranging from caddis, mayfly and stonefly imitations to terrestrials like ants, grasshoppers and woolly worms. Jordan Rodriguez, Idaho Statesman, 31 Jan. 2024 Inspection of nearby animal teeth and bones revealed that these early humans existed amid a harsh, tundra landscape populated by reindeer, cave bears, horses and woolly rhinoceros in conditions comparable to modern Siberia or northern Scandinavia. Catherine Duncan, Smithsonian Magazine, 2 Feb. 2024 The dig revealed the presence of reindeer, cave bears, woolly rhinoceroses and horses. Katie Hunt, CNN, 1 Feb. 2024 There were traces of horses, cave bears, woolly rhinoceroses, and reindeer, which indicates that the area had a colder climate similar to the tundra of Siberia and northern Scandinavia today. Laura Baisas, Popular Science, 31 Jan. 2024 Aviation regulations around pregnant fliers are woolly. Mark Ellwood, Condé Nast Traveler, 16 Jan. 2024 This is artist Julie Naylor's rendering of Tibetan woolly rhino (Credit: Julie Naylor) As one of the Ice Age megafauna, the woolly rhinoceros was more than 6 feet tall and 16 feet long, sporting two big keratin horns on the front of its head. Sofia Quaglia, Discover Magazine, 1 Nov. 2023
Noun
The dwarf woolly meadowfoam occurs only on the tops of the two Table Rocks and nowhere else in the world! Sunset Magazine, 9 Mar. 2023

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

Word History

First Known Use

Adjective

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

Noun

circa 1865, in the meaning defined at sense 1

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

Dictionary Entries Near woolly

Cite this Entry

“Woolly.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/woolly. Accessed 14 Apr. 2024.

Kids Definition

woolly

1 of 2 adjective
wool·​ly
variants also wooly
woollier; woolliest
1
a
: of, relating to, or bearing wool
woolly animals
b
: resembling wool
2
: marked by mental confusion
woolly thinking
3
: marked by roughness or disorder
the wild and woolly West
woolliness noun

woolly

2 of 2 noun
wool·​ly
variants also wooly or woolie
ˈwu̇l-ē
plural woollies
: a woolen garment
especially : underclothing of knitted wool
usually used in plural

More from Merriam-Webster on woolly

Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!