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See also: Floss, FLOSS, and Floß



Etymology 1[edit]

A woman spinning candy floss.

Uncertain. Perhaps from Middle English *flos (attested in Middle English Flosmonger (a surname)), related to English fleece. Alternatively from French floche (tuft of wool), from floc, from Old French flosche (down, velvet), from Latin floccus (piece of wool), probably from Frankish *flokko (down, wool, flock), from Proto-Germanic *flukkōn-, *flukkan-, *fluksōn- (down, flock), from Proto-Indo-European *plAwək- (hair, fibres, tuft). Cognate with Old High German flocko (down), Middle Dutch vlocke (flock), Norwegian dialectal flugsa (snowflake), Dutch flos (plush) (tr=17c.).


floss (countable and uncountable, plural flosses)

  1. a thread, used to clean the area between the teeth
  2. (raw) silk fibres
  3. the fibres covering a corn cob
  4. Any thread-like material having parallel strands that are not spun or wound around each other.
    embroidery floss
  5. (Britain) Spun sugar or cotton candy, especially in the phrase "candy floss".
  6. A body feather of an ostrich.
    Flosses are soft, and grey from the female and black from the male.


floss (third-person singular simple present flosses, present participle flossing, simple past and past participle flossed)

  1. To clean the area between the teeth using floss.
  2. (African American Vernacular) To show off, especially by exhibiting one’s wealth or talent.
    • 2003, Vladimir Bogdanov, All Music Guide to Hip-Hop: The Definitive Guide to Rap and Hip-Hop, Backbeat Books, page 554:
      As the label's name no doubt implies, these rappers aren't your typical crew, even if they still like to floss and represent their city.
    • 2003, Wang, Oliver, Classic Material: The Hip-Hop Album Guide, ECW Press, page 134:
      “Ms. Jackson” is probably the most sensitive—and realistic—take on relationships to come out of hip-hop, while “Red Velvet” cautions would-be playas against pushing the floss envelope around “dirty boys” just waiting for a chance to add some gray flecks to that fur.
    • 2007, Azie Faison, Agyei Tyehimba, Game Over: The Rise and Transformation of a Harlem Hustler, Simon and Schuster, page 69:
      It's impossible to floss wealth without attracting envy.
Derived terms[edit]
Related terms[edit]

Etymology 2[edit]

Compare German Floss a float.


floss (plural flosses)

  1. (Britain) A small stream of water.
  2. Fluid glass floating on iron in the puddling furnace, produced by the vitrification of oxides and earths which are present.
Derived terms[edit]


Part or all of this entry has been imported from the 1913 edition of Webster’s Dictionary, which is now free of copyright and hence in the public domain. The imported definitions may be significantly out of date, and any more recent senses may be completely missing.
(See the entry for floss in
Webster’s Revised Unabridged Dictionary, G. & C. Merriam, 1913.)




  1. First-person singular preterite of fließen.
  2. Third-person singular preterite of fließen.