Below is the picture of what I mean. So, I wanna know the name of these "rolls", what are they called? Pellets? Rolls?

As you can see, some people use razors or fabric shavers to get rid of them.

enter image description here

  • I dont have enough reputation to merely comment, but Like 1006a says, it depends a lot on location, and if you have them, then google search for "depiller".
    – Stax
    Commented Jan 23, 2019 at 1:35
  • we used to call it lint, Commented Jan 24, 2019 at 14:23

3 Answers 3


Those are commonly known as pills, or bobbles in the UK, though other terms may be in use depending on location. From Wikipedia:

A pill, colloquially known as a bobble, fuzzball, or lint ball is a small ball of fibers that forms on a piece of cloth. 'Pill' is also a verb for the formation of such balls.

As the Wikipedia article mentions, pill is also the verb form for this, and the form pilling is sometimes used for multiple pills together, as in:

This sweater pills like crazy! I started out picking off individual pills, but I really need a shaver thing to get rid of all the pilling.

  • 7
    Interesting... I've more commonly heard it being described as lint... never heard of this pill thing before
    – ColonD
    Commented Jan 21, 2019 at 9:41
  • 19
    @colond Pills are made of lint, but lint also takes other forms.
    – Ben
    Commented Jan 21, 2019 at 9:52
  • 5
    Bobble is the most common in British English (anecdotally)
    – JeffUK
    Commented Jan 21, 2019 at 15:22
  • 4
    @ColonD Never heard of "pill" either until I started reading Amazon reviews for clothing items. Commented Jan 21, 2019 at 21:22
  • 1
    I've always thought that the name "pill" came from the resemblance between the little spheres of lint and small tablets of medicine. OED dates "fabric pill" back to only the 1950s, while "pill" as a small round dollop of medicine, ammunition, or animal excrement is attested centuries earlier.
    – rob
    Commented Jan 21, 2019 at 22:09

I'm pretty sure that's lint.

Lint is the common name for visible accumulations of textile fibers and other materials, usually found on and around clothing.
Lint (Wikipedia article)

Here are the before and after photos of a carpet after a lint remover has been used:


1.Clinging bits of fiber and fluff; fuzz.
American Heritage Dictionary

It's important to remember that lint can refer to this type of material found in various places, for example, pockets, carpets, clothes surfaces, even belly button (navel).
Navel lint

Wikipedia covers a lot of them.

So you may want to specify by saying clothes lint etc. Also, not all lint is created equal, if they take form of a particular shape, like balls, capsules, rolls etc, you can use different words.

  • Comments are not for extended discussion; this conversation has been moved to chat.
    – tchrist
    Commented Jan 23, 2019 at 16:52

In the UK I call them bobbles, "the clothes have gone bobbly."

and to double check I am not alone:


cambridge dictionary

bobble noun

​ uk (us pill) a small ball of thread that develops on clothing or furniture covered in cloth


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