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floss

[flaws, flos] /flɔs, flɒs/
noun, Also called floss silk (for defs 1-3).
1.
the cottony fiber yielded by the silk-cotton tree.
2.
silk filaments with little or no twist, used in weaving as brocade or in embroidery.
3.
any silky, filamentous matter, as the silk of corn.
verb (used without object)
5.
to use dental floss on the teeth.
verb (used with object)
6.
to clean (the teeth) with dental floss.
Origin
1750-1760
1750-60; probably < French floche, as in soie floche floss silk, Old French flosche down, velvet pile (of uncertain origin)
Related forms
flosser, noun
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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Examples from the web for floss
  • They can help you learn not to fidget and explain that you need to floss before going on camera.
  • Britons who visit the dentist feel cheated if all they get is a quick peer and a reminder to floss.
  • Then he wrapped dental floss around the paper, tracing grooves made by the inserted screw.
  • Also remember to take along your toothbrush, toothpaste, floss and mouthwash to keep your teeth clean.
  • Place a small piece of cotton or dental floss under the nail.
  • The dentist or hygienist will show you how to brush and floss.
  • Children should never floss without an adult's help.
  • Ultrasonic brushes and dental floss should be allowed only if the patient is properly trained.
  • Illustrated poster demonstrating approved technique for using dental floss.
  • Do not brush or floss the teeth until the next morning.
British Dictionary definitions for floss

floss

/flɒs/
noun
1.
the mass of fine silky fibres obtained from cotton and similar plants
2.
any similar fine silky material, such as the hairlike styles and stigmas of maize or the fibres prepared from silkworm cocoons
3.
untwisted silk thread used in embroidery, etc
4.
verb
5.
(transitive) to clean (between one's teeth) with dental floss
Word Origin
C18: perhaps from Old French flosche down
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for floss
n.

"rough silk," 1759, perhaps from French floche "tuft of wool" (16c.), from Old French floc "tuft, lock," from Latin floccus "tuft of wool." Or from an unrecorded Old English or Old Norse word from the root found in Dutch flos "plush" (17c.). Cf. 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.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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