[ thred-bair ]
/ ˈθrɛdˌbɛər /


having the nap worn off so as to lay bare the threads of the warp and woof, as a fabric, garment, etc.
wearing threadbare clothes; shabby or poor: a threadbare old man.
meager, scanty, or poor: a threadbare emotional life.
hackneyed; trite; ineffectively stale: threadbare arguments.

Origin of threadbare

First recorded in 1325–75, threadbare is from the Middle English word thredbare. See thread, bare1

Related forms

thread·bare·ness, noun Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for threadbare

British Dictionary definitions for threadbare


/ (ˈθrɛdˌbɛə) /


(of cloth, clothing, etc) having the nap worn off so that the threads are exposed
meagre or poora threadbare existence
hackneyeda threadbare argument
wearing threadbare clothes; shabby

Derived Forms

threadbareness, noun
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