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[yahrn] /yɑrn/
thread made of natural or synthetic fibers and used for knitting and weaving.
a continuous strand or thread made from glass, metal, plastic, etc.
the thread, in the form of a loosely twisted aggregate of fibers, as of hemp, of which rope is made (rope yarn)
a tale, especially a long story of adventure or incredible happenings:
He spun a yarn that outdid any I had ever heard.
verb (used without object)
Informal. to spin a yarn; tell stories.
Origin of yarn
before 1000; Middle English; Old English gearn; cognate with German Garn; akin to Old Norse gǫrn gut, Greek chordḗ intestine, chord1, Lithuanian žarnà entrails, Latin hernia a rupture, Sanskrit hirā vein Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for yarn
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • I say, Dirk, what do you s'pose all that yarn means about to-morrow night?

    Ester Ried Yet Speaking Isabella Alden
  • “That be damned for a yarn,” exclaimed the other in unfeigned astonishment.

    The Secret Agent Joseph Conrad
  • But what were the words he was singing, this yarn he was spinning in his song?

    The Harbor Ernest Poole
  • The spindles, meanwhile, are revolving rapidly, spinning the yarn.

  • The yarn from the ring frame, or mule, is wound in a large cop, or on a bobbin.

  • I told you there was quite a yarn hitched to that smokin' business.

    Thankful's Inheritance Joseph C. Lincoln
British Dictionary definitions for yarn


a continuous twisted strand of natural or synthetic fibres, used in weaving, knitting, etc
(informal) a long and often involved story or account, usually telling of incredible or fantastic events
(informal) spin a yarn
  1. to tell such a story
  2. to make up or relate a series of excuses
(intransitive) to tell such a story or stories
Word Origin
Old English gearn; related to Old High German garn yarn, Old Norse görn gut, Greek khordē string, gut
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 yarn

Old English gearn "spun fiber," from Proto-Germanic *garnan (cf. Old Norse, Old High German, German garn, Middle Dutch gaern, Dutch garen "yarn"), from PIE root *ghere- "intestine, gut, entrail" (cf. Old Norse gorn "gut," Sanskrit hira "vein; entrails," Latin hernia "rupture," Greek khorde "intestine, gut-string," Lithuanian zarna "gut"). The phrase to spin a yarn "to tell a story" is first attested 1812, from a sailors' expression, on notion of telling stories while engaged in sedentary work such as yarn-twisting.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Idioms and Phrases with yarn


The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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