1530s in the literal sense of "to strip (a sheep) of fleece," from fleece (n.). From 1570s in the figurative meaning "to cheat, swindle, strip of money." Related: Fleeced; fleecer; fleecing.
"wool coat of a sheep," Old English fleos, flies "fleece, wool, fur, sealskin," from West Germanic *flusaz (source also of Middle Dutch vluus, Dutch vlies, Middle High German vlius, German Vlies), which is of uncertain origin; probably from PIE *pleus- "to pluck," also "a feather, fleece" (source also of Latin pluma "feather, down," Lithuanian plunksna "feather").
"rough silk," 1759, of uncertain origin, perhaps from French floche "tuft of wool" (16c.), from Old French floc "tuft, lock," from Latin floccus "tuft of wool," a word of unknown origin. Or from a dialectal survival of an unrecorded Old English or Old Norse word from the root of fleece (n.). Compare the surname Flossmonger, attested 1314, which might represent a direct borrowing from Scandinavian or Low German. In "The Mill on the Floss" the word is the proper name of a fictitious river in the English Midlands. Meaning "fine silk thread" is from 1871, short for floss silk (1759). Dental floss is from 1872; the verb floss in reference to use of it is from 1909. Related: Flossed; flossing.
late 14c., "a feather" (especially a large and conspicuous one), from Old French plume "soft feather, down; feather bed," and directly from Latin pluma "a small soft feather, down; the first beard," from PIE root *pleus- "to pluck; a feather, fleece" (source of Old English fleos "fleece"). Meaning "a long streamer of smoke, etc." is attested from 1878.
"long, slender hair," 1704, plural villi, from modern use of Latin villus "tuft of hair, shaggy hair, wool, fleece" (see velvet).
in Greek mythology, the name of a region in the far southeast corner of the Black Sea (in what is now Georgia), the homeland of Medea and associated with Jason and the quest for the Golden Fleece. Related: Colchian.
early 14c., probably from Old Provençal veluet, from Vulgar Latin *villutittus, diminutive of Vulgar Latin *villutus "velvet," literally "shaggy cloth," from Latin villus "shaggy hair, nap of cloth, tuft of hair," probably a dialectal variant of vellus "fleece," from PIE *wel-no-, suffixed form of *uelh- "to strike" (see svelte).
name of the ship in which Jason and his 54 heroic companions sought the Fleece in Colchis on the Euxine Sea, in Greek, literally "The Swift," from argos "swift" (adj.), an epithet, literally "shining, bright" (from PIE root *arg- "to shine; white"), "because all swift motion causes a kind of glancing or flickering light" [Liddell & Scott]. Related: Argean.