: indulgence in idle daydreaming
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. As you might imagine, woolgathering was not the most profitable of enterprises; its practitioners must have seemed to wander aimlessly, gaining little for their efforts. In the mid-16th century, woolgathering began to appear in figurative phrases such as "my wits went a woolgathering"—in other words, "my mind went wandering aimlessly." From there, it wasn't long before the word woolgathering came to suggest foolish or purposeless mind-wandering.
My woolgathering in the backseat was abruptly interrupted by a question from the taxi driver.
"I love the feeling of being on a train, the rumble and roar that seem to aid woolgathering, and I never tire of staring out the window, no matter the scenery." — Karl Zimmermann, The Los Angeles Times, 3 Sept. 2017
Test Your Vocabulary with M-W Quizzes
Name That Synonym
Fill in the blanks to complete a synonym of woolgathering: s _ _ rg _ _ in _.VIEW THE ANSWER
Theme music by Joshua Stamper ©2006 New Jerusalem Music/ASCAP