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thread

[thred]
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noun
  1. a fine cord of flax, cotton, or other fibrous material spun out to considerable length, especially when composed of two or more filaments twisted together.
  2. twisted filaments or fibers of any kind used for sewing.
  3. one of the lengths of yarn forming the warp or weft of a woven fabric.
  4. a filament or fiber of glass or other ductile substance.
  5. Ropemaking.
    1. any of a number of fibers twisted into a yarn.
    2. a yarn, especially as enumerated in describing small stuff.
  6. something having the fineness or slenderness of a filament, as a thin continuous stream of liquid, a fine line of color, or a thin seam of ore: a thread of smoke.
  7. the helical ridge of a screw.
  8. that which runs through the whole course of something, connecting successive parts: I lost the thread of the story.
  9. something conceived as being spun or continuously drawn out, as the course of life fabled to be spun, measured, and cut by the Fates.
  10. Digital Technology. a series of posts and responses on a message board or electronic mailing list that deal with the same subject and are grouped together.
  11. threads, Slang. clothes.
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verb (used with object)
  1. to pass the end of a thread through the eye of (a needle).
  2. to fix (beads, pearls, etc.) upon a thread that is passed through; string.
  3. to pass continuously through the whole course of (something); pervade: A joyous quality threaded the whole symphony.
  4. to make one's way through (a narrow passage, forest, crowd, etc.).
  5. to make (one's way) thus: He threaded his way through the crowd.
  6. to form a thread on or in (a bolt, hole, etc.).
  7. to place and arrange thread, yarn, etc., in position on (a sewing machine, loom, textile machine, etc.).
  8. to remove (facial hair, especially eyebrow hair) by using a looped and twisted thread to roll over the hair and lift it from the follicles.
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verb (used without object)
  1. to thread one's way, as through a passage or between obstacles: They threaded carefully along the narrow pass.
  2. to move in a threadlike course; wind or twine.
  3. Cookery. (of boiling syrup) to form a fine thread when poured from a spoon.
  4. to remove facial hair, especially from the eyebrows, by using a looped and twisted thread.
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Origin of thread

before 900; (noun) Middle English threed, Old English thrǣd; cognate with Dutch draad, German Draht, Old Norse thrathr wire; (v.) Middle English threeden, derivative of the noun See throw
Related formsthread·er, nounthread·less, adjectivethread·like, adjectivemis·thread, verbre·thread, verbself-thread·ing, adjective
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Related Words

cordwirestringyarnhairfiberstrandfilamentwoolribboncottonsilkbraidgossamerlislefibrilflossligaturetwinewarp

Examples from the Web for thread

Contemporary Examples

Historical Examples

  • Isn't it annoying when one can't pick up the thread of a conversation?

  • Minnie shook her head mysteriously, and bit a thread with a vague frown.

  • She only holds him by a thread; and if you draw it too tight (I know his temper) it'll snap.

  • We now resume the thread of our narrative where Ney's journal left off.

    Freeland

    Theodor Hertzka

  • She loved to spin, and no spider ever spun so fine a thread as she on her spinning wheel.

    Classic Myths

    Mary Catherine Judd


British Dictionary definitions for thread

thread

noun
  1. a fine strand, filament or fibre of some material
  2. a fine cord of twisted filaments, esp of cotton, used in sewing, weaving, etc
  3. any of the filaments of which a spider's web is made
  4. any fine line, stream, mark, or piecefrom the air, the path was a thread of white
  5. a helical groove in a cylindrical hole (female thread), formed by a tap or lathe tool, or a helical ridge on a cylindrical bar, rod, shank, etc (male thread), formed by a die or lathe tool
  6. a very thin seam of coal or vein of ore
  7. something acting as the continuous link or theme of a wholethe thread of the story
  8. the course of an individual's life believed in Greek mythology to be spun, measured, and cut by the Fates
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verb
  1. (tr) to pass (thread, film, magnetic tape, etc) through (something)to thread a needle; to thread cotton through a needle
  2. (tr) to string on a threadshe threaded the beads
  3. to make (one's way) through or over (something)
  4. (tr) to produce a screw thread by cutting, rolling, tapping, or grinding
  5. (tr) to pervadehysteria threaded his account
  6. (intr) (of boiling syrup) to form a fine thread when poured from a spoon
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See also threads
Derived Formsthreader, nounthreadless, adjectivethreadlike, adjective

Word Origin

Old English thrǣd; related to Old Frisian thrēd, Old High German drāt, Old Norse thrāthr thread
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 thread

n.

Old English þræd "fine cord, especially when twisted" (related to þrawan "to twist"), from Proto-Germanic *thrædus (cf. Middle Dutch draet, Dutch draad, Old High German drat, German Draht, Old Norse þraðr), from suffixed form of root *thræ- "twist" (see throw). Meaning "spiral ridge of a screw" is from 1670s. Threads, slang for "clothes" is 1926, American English.

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v.

"to put thread through a needle," mid-14c., from thread (n.); in reference to film cameras from 1913. The dancing move called thread the needle is attested from 1844. Related: Threaded; threading.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

Idioms and Phrases with thread

thread

see hang by a thread; lose the thread.

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