- to divide or separate into filaments, as silk.
- anything matted or raveled.
- a filament of silk obtained by separating a thicker thread.
- a silk in the form of such filaments.
Origin of sleave
Examples from the Web for sleave
The Italian form is sciamito, "a kind of sleave, feret, or filosello silke" (Florio).The Romance of Words (4th ed.)
- a tangled thread
- a thin filament unravelled from a thicker thread
- mainly poetic anything matted or complicated
- to disentangle (twisted thread, etc)
Word Origin and History for sleave
"to separate or divide" (threads, strands, fibers), Old English -slæfan, from stem of -slifan "to separate, split, cleave," from Proto-Germanic *slifanan, perhaps related to the root of slip (v.). Cf. German Schleife "a loop, knot, noose." Related: Sleaved; sleaving. As a noun, "knotted, tangled silk or thread," 1590s, from the verb; this is the word in Shakespeare's rauel'd Sleeue of Care ("Macbeth").