a. The dense, soft, often curly hair forming the coat of sheep and certain other mammals, such as the goat and alpaca, consisting of cylindrical strands of keratin covered by minute overlapping scales and much valued as a textile fiber.
b. Fabric or yarn made of this hair.
2. Hairy or downy material on a plant or animal, as on certain caterpillars.
3. Filamentous or fibrous material similar to the wool of a sheep or other mammal.
[Middle English wolle, from Old English wull.]
The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2020 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
Indo-European & Semitic Roots Appendices
Thousands of entries in the dictionary include etymologies that trace their origins back to reconstructed proto-languages. You can obtain more information about these forms in our online appendices:
The Indo-European appendix covers nearly half of the Indo-European roots that have left their mark on English words. A more complete treatment of Indo-European roots and the English words derived from them is available in our Dictionary of Indo-European Roots.