Merriam-Webster Word of the Day: Dyed-In-The-Wool

The Merriam-Webster Word of the Day is dyed-in-the-wool. Read on for what it means, how it’s used, and more.

What It Means

Someone described as dyed-in-the-wool has very strong, uncompromising beliefs or opinions.

// The festival was held in a remote, rural town, ensuring it would attract no one but the most dyed-in-the-wool bluegrass fans.


“Nearly a century after Milton Hershey brought hockey here in part to entertain chocolate factory workers, the Bears and their fans still hold a novel place in the sport. The oldest AHL team serves as the primary development club for the Washington Capitals, even though it has supporters who have been season ticket holders longer than the Capitals have existed. Some players refer to Hershey as the ‘33rd NHL city’ because of the team’s dyed-in-the-wool fan base, much of which comprises generations of families that have followed it since World War II.” — Roman Stubb, The Washington Post, 4 Apr. 2023

Did You Know?

Early yarn makers would dye wool before spinning it into yarn to make the fibers retain their color longer, an order of operations still frequently followed. In 16th-century England, that make-it-last coloring practice led writers to draw a comparison between the dyeing of wool and the way children could, if taught early, be influenced in ways that would last throughout their lives. In the 19th-century U.S., the wool-dyeing practice put eloquent Federalist orator Daniel Webster in mind of a certain type of Democrat whose attitudes were as unyielding as the dye in unspun wool. Of course, Democrats were soon using the term against their opponents, too, but over time the partisanship of the expression faded and it is now a general term describing anyone or anything that seems unlikely or unwilling to change.

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