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[her-ing-bohn] /ˈhɛr ɪŋˌboʊn/
a pattern consisting of adjoining vertical rows of slanting lines, any two contiguous lines forming either a V or an inverted V , used in masonry, textiles, embroidery, etc.
  1. Also called chevron, chevron weave, herringbone weave. a type of twill weave having this pattern.
  2. a fabric constructed with this weave.
  3. a garment made from such a fabric, especially a suit.
Skiing. a method of going up a slope in which a skier sets the skis in a form resembling a V , and, placing weight on the inside edges, advances the skis by turns using the poles from behind for push and support.
having or resembling herringbone:
herringbone tweed.
Origin of herringbone
First recorded in 1645-55; herring + bone Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2017.
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Examples from the Web for herringbone
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • This was going to be one of the herringbone's more unendurable voyages, Iversen knew.

    Once a Greech Evelyn E. Smith
  • The abdomen is gray, with yellowish markings in a herringbone pattern through the middle.

  • Mr Bloom walked behind the eyeless feet, a flatcut suit of herringbone tweed.

    Ulysses James Joyce
  • Teach the herringbone stitch on the practice piece, and herringbone over the raw edges of the patch.

    Handicraft for Girls Idabelle McGlauflin
  • The brick floor laid in a herringbone pattern, if not original, is certainly early.

    Huntley Tony P. Wrenn
  • Turn one fold three-eighths of an inch wide on the four sides of the large piece, baste and herringbone stitch the raw edge.

    Handicraft for Girls Idabelle McGlauflin
  • This herringbone or catch stitch can be used in many places.

    Clothing and Health Helen Kinne
  • The raw-edged hem, finished with the herringbone stitch, could be used in place of the plain hem, if desired.

    Handicraft for Girls Idabelle McGlauflin
  • Join together the sides with the loops by sewing in herringbone st. Sew the other sides in the usual manner.

British Dictionary definitions for herringbone


  1. a pattern used in textiles, brickwork, etc, consisting of two or more rows of short parallel strokes slanting in alternate directions to form a series of parallel Vs or zigzags
  2. (as modifier): a herringbone jacket, a herringbone pattern of very long, narrow bricks
(skiing) a method of ascending a slope by walking with the skis pointing outwards and one's weight on the inside edges
to decorate (textiles, brickwork, etc) with herringbone
(intransitive) (skiing) to ascend a slope in herringbone fashion
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
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Word Origin and History for herringbone

also herring-bone, 1650s in literal sense and also as a type of stitch, from herring + bone. From 1905 as a type of cirrocumulus cloud.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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