[ skeyn ]
/ skeɪn /


a length of yarn or thread wound on a reel or swift preparatory for use in manufacturing.
anything wound in or resembling such a coil: a skein of hair.
something suggestive of the twistings of a skein: an incoherent skein of words.
a flock of geese, ducks, or the like, in flight.
a succession or series of similar or interrelated things: a skein of tennis victories.

Nearby words

  1. skeezicks,
  2. skeezy,
  3. skeg,
  4. skeif,
  5. skeigh,
  6. skeletal,
  7. skeletal extension,
  8. skeletal muscle,
  9. skeletal system,
  10. skeletal traction

Origin of skein

1400–50; late Middle English skeyne, skayne < Middle French escaigne < ? Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for skein

British Dictionary definitions for skein


/ (skeɪn) /


a length of yarn, etc, wound in a long coil
something resembling this, such as a lock of hair
a flock of geese flyingCompare gaggle (def. 2)

Word Origin for skein

C15: from Old French escaigne, of unknown origin

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 skein



"fixed quantity of yarn doubled over and over and knotted, mid-15c., from Middle French escaigne "a hank of yarn" (Old French escagne, mid-14c., Modern French écagne), of uncertain origin. Cf. Medieval Latin scagna "a skein," Irish sgainne "a skein, clue."

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper