spin one's wheels. wheel(def 27).
    spin out, (of an automobile) to undergo a spinout.

Origin of spin

before 900; Middle English spinnen to spin yarn, Old English spinnan; cognate with Dutch, German spinnen, Old Norse spinna, Gothic spinnan
Related formsspin·na·bil·i·ty, nounspin·na·ble, adjectiveout·spin, verb (used with object), out·spun, out·spin·ning.un·spin·na·ble, adjective

Synonyms for spin Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for spin

Contemporary Examples of spin

Historical Examples of spin

  • By response to response we spin round a friend the age-web which lengthens into the death-web.

  • They may find they have more tow on their distaff than they know how to spin.

    The White Company

    Arthur Conan Doyle

  • Here I must bide, and talk and sew and spin, and spin and sew and talk.

    The White Company

    Arthur Conan Doyle

  • You'll come down low then, so as you can examine the villages as you spin along.

    Tom Sawyer Abroad

    Mark Twain (Samuel Clemens)

  • Miss Priest was no "spin" lingering on in spinsterhood against her will.

British Dictionary definitions for spin


verb spins, spinning or spun

to rotate or cause to rotate rapidly, as on an axis
  1. to draw out and twist (natural fibres, as of silk or cotton) into a long continuous thread
  2. to make such a thread or filament from (synthetic resins, etc), usually by forcing through a nozzle
(of spiders, silkworms, etc) to form (webs, cocoons, etc) from a silky fibre exuded from the body
(tr) to shape (metal) into a rounded form on a lathe
(tr) informal to tell (a tale, story, etc) by drawing it out at great length (esp in the phrase spin a yarn)
to bowl, pitch, hit, or kick (a ball) so that it rotates in the air and changes direction or speed on bouncing, or (of a ball) to be projected in this way
(intr) (of wheels) to revolve rapidly without causing propulsion
to cause (an aircraft) to dive in a spiral descent or (of an aircraft) to dive in a spiral descent
(intr foll by along) to drive or travel swiftly
Also: spin-dry (tr) to rotate (clothes) in a washing machine in order to extract surplus water
(intr) to reel or grow dizzy, as from turning aroundmy head is spinning
(intr) to fish by drawing a revolving lure through the water
(intr) informal to present news or information in a way that creates a favourable impression


a swift rotating motion; instance of spinning
  1. the intrinsic angular momentum of an elementary particle or atomic nucleus, as distinguished from any angular momentum resulting from its motion
  2. a quantum number determining values of this angular momentum in units of the Dirac constant, having integral or half-integral valuesSymbol: S, s
a condition of loss of control of an aircraft or an intentional flight manoeuvre in which the aircraft performs a continuous spiral descent because the angle of maximum lift is less than the angle of incidence
a spinning motion imparted to a ball, etc
(in skating) any of various movements involving spinning rapidly on the spot
informal a short or fast drive, ride, etc, esp in a car, for pleasure
flat spin informal, mainly British a state of agitation or confusion
Australian and NZ informal a period of time or an experience; chance or luck; fortunea bad spin
commerce informal a sudden downward trend in prices, values, etc
informal the practice of presenting news or information in a way that creates a favourable impression
on the spin informal one after anotherthey have lost two finals on the spin
See also spin off, spin out

Word Origin for spin

Old English spinnan; related to Old Norse spinna, Old High German spinnan to spin, Lithuanian pinu to braid
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 spin

Old English spinnan "draw out and twist fibers into thread," from Proto-Germanic *spenwanan (cf. Old Norse and Old Frisian spinna, Danish spinde, Dutch spinnen, Old High German spinnan, German spinnen, Gothic spinnan), from PIE *(s)pen- "stretch" (cf. Armenian henum "I weave;" Greek patos "garment, literally "that which is spun;" Lithuanian pinu "I plait, braid," spandau "I spin;" Middle Welsh cy-ffiniden "spider;" see span (v.)).

Sense of "to cause to turn rapidly" is from 1610s; meaning "revolve, turn around rapidly" first recorded 1660s. Meaning "attempt to influence reporters' minds after an event has taken place but before they have written about it" seems to have risen to popularity in the 1984 U.S. presidential campaign; e.g. spin doctor, first attested 1984. Spinning wheel is attested from c.1400; spinning-jenny is from 1783 (see jenny); invented by James Hargreaves c.1764-7, patented 1770.


"fairly rapid ride," 1856, from spin (v.).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

Science definitions for spin



The intrinsic angular momentum of a rigid body or particle, especially a subatomic particle. Also called spin angular momentum
The total angular momentum of a physical system, such as an electron orbital or an atomic nucleus.
A quantum number expressing spin angular momentum; the actual angular momentum is a quantum number multiplied by Dirac's constant. Fermions have spin values that are integer multiples of 12, while bosons have spin values that are integer multiples of 1.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary Copyright © 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.

Idioms and Phrases with spin


In addition to the idioms beginning with spin

  • spin a yarn
  • spin control
  • spin doctor
  • spin off
  • spin one's wheels
  • spin out

also see:

  • go into a tailspin
  • make one's head spin
  • put a spin on
The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.