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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.
animal-hair fibre obtained from the Angora goat (see ) and a significant so-called specialty hair fibre. The word mohair is derived from the Arabic mukhayyar ("goat's hair fabric"), which became mockaire in medieval times. Mohair is one of the oldest textile fibres, produced exclusively in Turkey for thousands of years, achieving importance in European textile manufacture during the 19th century. In the mid-1800s herds of common goats in southern Africa and the southwestern United States were upgraded by the importation of Angora sires.