from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition.

  • noun Any of a breed of sheep, originally from Spain, having long fine wool.
  • noun The wool of this sheep.
  • noun A soft lightweight fabric made originally of merino wool but now of any fine wool.
  • noun A yarn made from merino wool.
  • noun A knitted fabric made from this yarn.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • Noting a variety of sheep from Spain, or their wool. See below.
  • Made of the wool of the merino sheep: as, merino stockings or underclothing.
  • noun A merino sheep.
  • noun A thin woolen cloth, twilled on both sides and used especially for women's dresses, now to some extent superseded by cashmere.
  • noun A variety of tricot or knitted material for undergarments.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English.

  • adjective Of or pertaining to a variety of sheep with very fine wool, originally bred in Spain.
  • adjective Made of the wool of the merino sheep.
  • noun (Zoöl.) A breed of sheep originally from Spain, noted for the fineness of its wool.
  • noun A fine fabric of merino wool.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.

  • noun countable A breed of Spanish sheep that has long, fine hair
  • noun uncountable The wool of this sheep
  • noun The fabric made from this wool (or from any similar yarn)
  • noun A yarn made from a combination of wool and cotton in imitation of this wool

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • noun white sheep originating in Spain and producing a heavy fleece of exceptional quality


from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

[Spanish, perhaps from Berber Benī Merīn, name of the tribe that developed the breed, or from Spanish merino, local magistrate (from Latin māiōrīnus, larger, from māior; see major).]


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  • This word always calls to mind a quote from one of my favorite pieces by John Muir:

    "Give to Nature every cultured apple--codling, pippin, russet--and every sheep so laboriously compounded--muffled Southdowns, hairy Cotswolds, wrinkled Merinos--and she would throw the one to her caterpillars, the other to her wolves."

    April 16, 2007

  • The best damned wool in the world. Made in Australia.

    October 6, 2007