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fleece

fleece / flēs/ • n. 1. the woolly covering of a sheep or goat: as the sheep came on board, we grabbed their long shaggy fleeces | he clutched the ram by two handfuls of thick fleece. ∎  the amount of wool shorn from a sheep in a single piece at one time. 2. a thing resembling a sheep's woolly covering, in particular: ∎  a soft warm fabric with a texture similar to sheep's wool, often used as a lining material. ∎  a jacket or other garment made from such a fabric. ∎  Heraldry a representation of a fleece suspended from a ring. • v. [tr.] 1. inf. obtain a great deal of money from (someone), typically by overcharging or swindling them: money that authorities say he fleeced from well-to-do acquaintances. 2. fig. cover as if with a fleece: the sky was half blue, half fleeced with white clouds. DERIVATIVES: fleeced adj.

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fleece

fleece, mat of wool formed by shearing a sheep in one continuous operation. The average fleece weighs from 5 to 10 lb (2.3–4.5 kg); in highbred wool sheep such as the American Merinos a ram's fleece may reach 30 lb (13.6 kg). The weight lost in cleansing the fleece of grease before sorting the wool is called shrinkage. On large sheep ranches hand shearing, once a competition skill, has largely been replaced by machine shearing. In heraldry a fleece is a whole, stuffed ram's fleece, complete with head and feet, suspended by a band around its middle. See also Golden Fleece and sheep.

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fleece

fleece sb. OE. flēos = Du., (M)HG. vlies :- WGmc. *fleusa, and OE. flēs (WS. flīes) = MLG. vlüs, MDu. vluus, MHG. vlius :- WGmc. *fleusi, rel. to MLG., MHG. vlūs sheepskin (G. flaus woollen coat) :- *flūsa-; prob. ult. rel. to the base of L. plūma PLUME.
Hence vb. lit. and fig. XVI.

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fleece

fleeceanis, apiece, Berenice, caprice, cassis, cease, coulisse, crease, Dumfries, fils, fleece, geese, grease, Greece, kris, lease, Lucrece, MacNeice, Matisse, McAleese, Nice, niece, obese, peace, pelisse, piece, police, Rees, Rhys, set piece, sublease, surcease, two-piece, underlease •mantelpiece • headpiece • hairpiece •tailpiece • Greenpeace •chimney piece • frontispiece •timepiece • codpiece • crosspiece •mouthpiece • showpiece • earpiece •masterpiece •centrepiece (US centerpiece) •altarpiece • workpiece • ambergris •calabrese

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