fleece

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fleece,

mat of woolwool,
fiber made from the fleece of the domestic sheep. Composition and Characteristics

Wool consists of the cortex, overlapping scales (sharper and more protruding than those of hair) that may expand at their free edges causing fibers to intermesh; elasticum, the
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 formed by shearing a sheep in one continuous operation. The average fleece weighs from 5 to 10 lb (2.3–4.5 kg); in highbred wool sheep such as the American Merinos a ram's fleece may reach 30 lb (13.6 kg). The weight lost in cleansing the fleece of grease before sorting the wool is called shrinkage. On large sheep ranches hand shearing, once a competition skill, has largely been replaced by machine shearing. In heraldry a fleece is a whole, stuffed ram's fleece, complete with head and feet, suspended by a band around its middle. See also Golden FleeceGolden Fleece,
in Greek mythology, the magic fleece of the winged ram that saved Phrixus and Helle, the children of Nephele and Athamas, from the jealousy of Ino, Athamas' second wife.
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 and sheepsheep,
common name for many species of wild and domesticated ruminant mammals of the genus Ovis of the Bovidae, or cattle, family. The male is called a ram (if castrated it is a wether), the female is called a ewe, and their offspring is a lamb.
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.
The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia™ Copyright © 2013, Columbia University Press. Licensed from Columbia University Press. All rights reserved. www.cc.columbia.edu/cu/cup/
The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Fleece

 

wool removed from a sheep in an entire layer. Fleece consists of staples or locks of wool that are held close to one another by connecting wool threads in homogeneous wool and by the bunching of down at the bases of the locks in heterogeneous wool. The fleece is removed in the spring from fine-wooled, semifine-wooled, semicoarse-wooled, and coarse-wooled sheep. Autumn and lamb’s-wool shearings do not form a fleece but fall into separate pieces. The wool covering on sheep before shearing is also called fleece.

The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.

fleece

[flēs]
(textiles)
A fabric with a deep, soft, napped surface.
(vertebrate zoology)
Coat of wool shorn from sheep; usually taken off the animal in one piece.
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of Scientific & Technical Terms, 6E, Copyright © 2003 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.

fleece

sheepskin or a fabric with soft pile, used as a lining for coats, etc.
Collins Discovery Encyclopedia, 1st edition © HarperCollins Publishers 2005
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Billy, the representative of the New Dispensation, willingly accepts martyrdom, crying at the end, "God bless Captain Vere!" As the Christ-like Billy mounts the yardarm, the golden sun penetrates the fleecy clouds, signifying the hero's resurrection into eternal life.
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With their high aesthetic value, fleecy and pileless carpets are used to decorate the walls and floors of marquees, huts, homes, and nomads' tents.
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