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

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.
Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective San Diego, California, spends money on scandals (101 Ash Street) and other expensive things that aren’t necessary, or pie-in-the-sky projects (Grand Central Station) that are going to fly like woolly mammoths, just to piss people off. Nick Canepacolumnist, San Diego Union-Tribune, 16 Apr. 2022 The Central American woolly opossum and the kinkajou, too, were a bit blasé. Katherine J. Wu, The Atlantic, 1 Apr. 2022 Artists craved new subject matter, especially, as time passed, wild and woolly subjects. Brian T. Allen, National Review, 19 Mar. 2022 The fish might still bite the woolly buggers and yuk bugs in a fly-fishing kit from Bancroft. Stacy Ryburn, Arkansas Online, 18 Mar. 2022 Part of the appeal for those investors is less about woolly mammoths and the potential of genetic engineering to advance human health and enhance global food production. Chris Morris, Fortune, 9 Mar. 2022 Some believe the 13 segments or bands of the woolly worm, represent the 13 weeks of winter. Kirby Adams, The Courier-Journal, 2 Nov. 2021 This bald assertion is followed by a lofty shutting-down of any debate on the matter—yet there’s been no substantive rejection of my arguments, only woolly appeals to subjectivity and ad hominem remarks. Harper’s Magazine , 18 Jan. 2022 Over thousands of years, the frozen earth swallowed up all manner of organic material, from tree stumps to woolly mammoths. Joshua Yaffa, The New Yorker, 10 Jan. 2022 See More

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.

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

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Dictionary Entries Near woolly



woolly adelgid

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Statistics for woolly

Last Updated

24 Apr 2022

Cite this Entry

“Woolly.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/woolly. Accessed 22 May. 2022.

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More Definitions for woolly


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

More from Merriam-Webster on woolly

Nglish: Translation of woolly for Spanish Speakers


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