Definition of floss in English:

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Pronunciation: /flɒs/


[mass noun]
1The rough silk enveloping a silkworm’s cocoon.
Example sentences
  • Since mankind discovered the wonder of the silkworm's floss, it has been used for the costliest of garments.
  • Our silk quilt is made of pure silk floss.
  • At the beginning, the silkworm spins the outer covering, the floss of the cocoon.
1.1 (also floss silk) Untwisted silk fibres used in embroidery.
Example sentences
  • Made with floss silk on khadi, phulkari is practiced by very few in the State today.
  • The birds are worked in floss silk using a variety of flat stitches.
  • This is a fluorescent floss silk and certainly stands out in coloured water.
1.2The silky down in maize and other plants: milkweed floss
More example sentences
  • I saw a child who was albino, the hair like floss, the eyes with points of pink in them that reached up and grabbed my soul.
2 short for dental floss.
Example sentences
  • I don't wash my hands eighty-three times a day, brush my teeth for thirty-two minutes or floss with old fishingline if no string is available.
  • It was a simple test, pitting Gore's PTFE floss against standard nylon floss and asking consumers which they preferred.
  • They turned out to be perfect for small, hard-to-store items, like floss, sunscreen, and the scads of miniature soaps and shampoos I like to pilfer from motels.


1 [with object] Clean between (one’s teeth) with dental floss.
Example sentences
  • Clean and floss your teeth at least twice a day: keep them sparkling, so you'll want to smile at the whole world.
  • Talk to your child's dentist for advice on flossing those tiny teeth.
  • Most pregnant women have some bleeding of their gums, especially while brushing or flossing their teeth.
2 [no object] US informal Behave in a flamboyant manner; show off.
Example sentences
  • I accept these conventions, then, because I have no great desire to see the Mitchell brothers flossing or farting, and I'm happy that the scriptwriters should indulge this prejudice.
  • Safire advises, ‘an obnoxious male showoff seeking to attract females is derided as a floss or as engaged in flossing.’
  • If you haven't already seen the guy flossing up and down the Main, or posting hard on any given corner of Ste-Catherine, you will soon.


Mid 18th century: from French (soie) floche 'floss (silk)', from Old French flosche 'down, nap of velvet', of unknown origin.

Words that rhyme with floss

across, boss, Bros, cos, cross, crosse, doss, dross, emboss, en brosse, fosse, gloss, Goss, joss, Kos, lacrosse, loss, moss, MS-DOS, Ross

For editors and proofreaders

Line breaks: floss

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