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
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for herringbone

Contemporary Examples of herringbone

Historical Examples of herringbone

  • This herringbone or catch stitch can be used in many places.

  • "But I didn't take over," Bridey the Herringbone said complacently.

    Once a Greech

    Evelyn E. Smith

  • "You purposely got Harkaway to take you aboard the Herringbone," Iversen interrupted wrathfully.

    Once a Greech

    Evelyn E. Smith

  • Herringbone stitch over the raw edge of both sides of the seam.

    Handicraft for Girls

    Idabelle McGlauflin

  • Squares, plaids, herringbone and lozenge patterns were done by this process in such a manner as to be very handsome.

    In and Around Berlin

    Minerva Brace Norton

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
(intr) 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

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