1610s, earlier mocayre, 1560s, "fine hair of the Angora goat," also "a fabric made from this," from Middle French mocayart (16c.), Italian mocaiarro, both from Arabic mukhayyar "cloth of goat hair," literally "selected, choice," from khayyara "he chose." Spelling influenced in English by association with hair. Moire "watered silk" (1650s) probably represents English mohair borrowed into French and back into English.
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