Definition of floss in US English:

floss

noun

  • 1The rough silk enveloping a silkworm's cocoon.

    • ‘Our silk quilt is made of pure silk floss.’
    • ‘At the beginning, the silkworm spins the outer covering, the floss of the cocoon.’
    • ‘Since mankind discovered the wonder of the silkworm's floss, it has been used for the costliest of garments.’
    1. 1.1 Untwisted silk fibers used in embroidery.
      • ‘Use felt scraps, embroidery floss, beads and other scrap materials to finish the finger puppets.’
      • ‘I'll be blending three colors of floss in each knot to match the blocks.’
      • ‘The embroidery floss of my cross-stitched past now makes its home among my bookbinding materials.’
      • ‘Spun silk floss is used for the filling and the cover is pure Habotai silk.’
      • ‘You have a hoop, needle, iron-on transfers and skeins of embroidery floss.’
      • ‘If you are handy with a needle and embroidery floss, create a cross-stitch sampler featuring those words.’
      • ‘‘You only need a piece of evenweave fabric, some embroidery floss and a pair of scissors to start,’ Huang said.’
      • ‘Made with floss silk on khadi, phulkari is practiced by very few in the State today.’
      • ‘Details are embroidered using various colours of embroidery floss.’
      • ‘If you have trouble finding cording in the correct color, consider making your own from embroidery floss or perle cotton, which is readily available in a wide color range.’
      • ‘Transmitters were attached in 2001 using a figure-eight loop harness made of lightweight cotton embroidery floss.’
      • ‘This is a fluorescent floss silk and certainly stands out in coloured water.’
      • ‘The birds are worked in floss silk using a variety of flat stitches.’
      • ‘Lovingly stitched from black embroidery floss onto large squares of black cotton, the figures are represented as vaguely discernible silhouettes that emphasize simple lines and bold shapes.’
      • ‘Hand-stitch the leaf to a blue square using embroidery floss.’
      • ‘This wasn't so bad… at least the carpet wasn't pink, she thought as she showed the girls how to braid the colorful floss.’
      • ‘Unloop the button and use matching floss or thread to wrap around the braid at the mark.’
      • ‘If you are handy with a needle and embroidery floss, do the same thing using your needlework skills.’
      • ‘No creepy crawlies, just silks, furs, flosses, feathers, wood, metal and plastic on a hook.’
      • ‘The dress itself was a beautiful creation, black and pink, latest fashion, covered in embroidery floss, beads and other items that came straight out of a friendship bracelet kit at the mannequin's feet.’
    2. 1.2 The silky down in corn and other plants.
      ‘milkweed floss’
      • ‘I saw a child who was albino, the hair like floss, the eyes with points of pink in them that reached up and grabbed my soul.’
      soft feathers, fluff, fuzz, lint, bloom, fine hair, nap, pile
      View synonyms
    3. 1.3
      short for dental floss
      • ‘This disturbed me a little and not because I know that my own flossing can be a tad sporadic as times depending on whether I have remembered to buy floss.’
      • ‘Jim turned on the tap and leaned forward, wrapping floss around two fingers while Simon washed his hands in the sink beside him.’
      • ‘But don't worry, there is more than just floss in this dentist's surgery.’
      • ‘Something else clattered to the floor along with his floss, and Alice drew back into the room just in time to see Gary hastily tuck it back into his bag.’
      • ‘Wrap about 18 inches of floss around the middle fingers of both hands.’
      • ‘So now I'm going to have to buy some floss at Icelandic prices!’
      • ‘Try a flossing ribbon or tape coated with natural waxes like jojoba, beeswax or carnuba to help floss glide between teeth without harming gums.’
      • ‘It was a simple test, pitting Gore's PTFE floss against standard nylon floss and asking consumers which they preferred.’
      • ‘So the benefits are, one, time saved from not having to floss, and the money saved from not having to buy so much floss.’
      • ‘She was putting the kids to bed and I was in the bathroom looking for some floss.’
      • ‘There were patches of band logos and patterned fabrics sewn on with varying colors of thread and tooth floss.’
      • ‘A flosette is a plastic handle that holds a length of floss.’
      • ‘I kept a spool of floss next to the keyboard at all times.’
      • ‘There are some fancy new flosses, like Glide or Colgate's Precision.’
      • ‘If you lack good finger dexterity, you may find it helpful to use one of the new flosses, such as Glide, or a commercial floss holder.’
      • ‘They turned out to be perfect for small, hard-to-store items, like floss, sunscreen, and the scads of miniature soaps and shampoos I like to pilfer from motels.’
      • ‘Your dentist will demonstrate how to use floss under your bridge.’
      • ‘I don't wash my hands eighty-three times a day, brush my teeth for thirty-two minutes or floss with old fishingline if no string is available.’

verb

[with object]
  • Clean between (one's teeth) with dental floss.

    ‘I flossed my teeth’
    no object ‘you must floss well’
    • ‘My dentist likes to say that you don't have to floss all of your teeth, just the ones you want to keep.’
    • ‘Clean and floss your teeth at least twice a day: keep them sparkling, so you'll want to smile at the whole world.’
    • ‘Most pregnant women have some bleeding of their gums, especially while brushing or flossing their teeth.’
    • ‘This may cause minor bleeding when you brush or floss your teeth.’
    • ‘Seriously, paying closer attention to policy is a little like flossing your teeth.’
    • ‘If we as fitness professionals could just convince Americans to watch their diet, exercise regularly and floss, we'd really be getting somewhere.’
    • ‘I'm hanging beneath the boat doing a safety stop, eyes fixed on my dive computer, oblivious to the fact that, behind me, a huge albino sperm whale is flossing its teeth on the anchor line.’
    • ‘Try placing a note in a strategic location to remind yourself to check your feet or to floss your teeth.’
    • ‘Parents will need to floss young children's teeth.’
    • ‘Even choosing something as mundane as flossing your teeth four times per week can be a real chore if you hate to floss.’
    • ‘For the first time in my life, I feel like if anyone so much as breathes in the wrong direction toward me, I'm going to slice them to ribbons and floss with their intestines.’
    • ‘She was in the bathroom flossing her teeth when she heard her phone ring.’
    • ‘Talk to your child's dentist for advice on flossing those tiny teeth.’
    • ‘When I brush vigorously or floss, my gums bleed.’
    • ‘Your dentist can also advise you on how to floss your teeth properly.’
    • ‘While brushing and flossing your pets' teeth is the obvious answer, there are other less digit-threatening ways to go about it.’
    • ‘The tip suggests that urging your patients to brush and floss their teeth after dinner may help them fend off evening snacking.’
    • ‘In addition, brush and floss your teeth at least twice a day, and see your dentist if your gums bleed or look red or swollen.’
    • ‘Make sure you brush your teeth properly for at least two minutes and floss.’
    • ‘If you floss your teeth, you may continue to do so.’
    wash, cleanse, wipe, sponge, scrub, mop, rinse, scour, swab, hose down, sluice, sluice down, flush, polish, disinfect
    View synonyms

Origin

Mid 18th century: from French (soie) floche ‘floss (silk)’, from Old French flosche ‘down, nap of velvet’, of unknown origin.

Pronunciation