Definition of floss in English:


Line breaks: floss
Pronunciation: /flɒs


[mass noun]
1The rough silk enveloping a silkworm’s cocoon.
More 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.
More 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.
More 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.


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1 [with object] Clean between (one’s teeth) with dental floss.
More 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] black slang Behave in a flamboyant manner; show off.
More 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.

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