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  1. one of the sets of vertical cords or wires in a loom, forming the principal part of the harness that guides the warp threads.

Origin of heddle

1505–15; perhaps representing Old English *hefedl, a metathetic variant of hefeld (Middle English helde, ModE heald), cognate with Old Saxon hevild; akin to Old Norse hafald
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for heddle

Historical Examples

  • This will fasten the heddle in its place across the loom (Fig. 12).

    Indoor and Outdoor Recreations for Girls

    Lina Beard

  • This very ingenious man in 1801 invented a substitute for the heddle.

    Stories of Useful Inventions

    Samuel Eagle Foreman

  • With his left hand he works the reed, with his feet he works the heddle.

    Stories of Useful Inventions

    Samuel Eagle Foreman

  • On each side of the woof in the heddle there is a carrier, B.

  • Prof. Kennedy argues that these rods are in the wrong position and that D1 which is a heddle should be in the place of D2.

British Dictionary definitions for heddle


  1. one of a set of frames of vertical wires on a loom, each wire having an eye through which a warp thread can be passed

Word Origin

Old English hefeld chain; related to Old Norse hafald, Middle Low German hevelte
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012