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The word wool comes from the old English word wull. The Latin word for wool was lana which is also the origin of the word for wool in several other European languages. Wool is the hair of the sheep.

  • wool - English
  • laine - French
  • wolle - German
  • lenos - Greek
  • lana - Italian
  • lá - Portugese
  • lînã - Romanian
  • lana - Spanish

Of the many breeds of sheep throughout the world, a different type of wool is produced by each. There are five main types:

  1. Coarse long and medium wool from hill or mountain sheep.
  2. Lustrous and semi-lustrous long wool from pure-bred sheep.
  3. Short and medium Down wools from pure-bred sheep.
  4. Fine soft wool from pure-bred sheep.
  5. Crossbred wools from crossbred or halfbred sheep.

Tropical and desert sheep produce short coarse wools.

Other animals grow wool and hair which is collectively referred to as wool which are also widely used in the manufacture of textiles. These are sometimes called luxury fibres as they are usually more expensive to grow and process than sheep\'s wool: angora goat (mohair), angora rabbit, llama, alpaca, pashmina or cashmere goat and vicuna. The hair from these animals is generally much softer than sheeps wool and much warmer to wear.