1610s, earlier mocayre, 1560s, "fine hair of the Angora goat," also a fabric made from this, from French mocayart (16c.), Italian mocaiarro, both from Arabic mukhayyar "cloth of goat hair," literally "selected, choice," from mu-, noun prefix, + khayar "choosing, preferring." The stuff was imported to Europe 14c.-15c. under the name camlet. Later used of imitations made of wool and cotton. Spelling influenced in English by association with hair. Moire "watered silk" (1650s) also used in reference to the shimmering visual effect, probably represents English mohair borrowed into French and back into English.