Definition of stitch in English:

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Pronunciation: /stiCH/


1A loop of thread or yarn resulting from a single pass or movement of the needle in sewing, knitting, or crocheting.
Example sentences
  • There's the strong likelihood of my stitches sliding off my needles with every movement.
  • Our modes and tonality, diverse ingredients and style unite in a tapestry of stitches belonging to different needles.
  • Students learn to do math by knitting stitches together, and to count by placing nuts into bags.
1.1A loop of thread used to join the edges of a wound or surgical incision: a neck wound requiring forty stitches
More example sentences
  • The surgical wound clips or stitches may be removed while in hospital just before going home, but on occasion they will be removed after discharge from hospital by a GP or a nurse.
  • Each pile is tied off with a surgical stitch, or suture, and then the pile is cut away.
  • When the operation is complete, the incisions are closed with stitches and the four small wounds are covered with dressings.
1.2 [usually with adjective] A method of sewing, knitting, or crocheting producing a particular pattern or design: basic embroidery stitches
More example sentences
  • In Claim 3, it will mean those stitches and the embroidery stitches.
  • Though lighter to wear, silk is not as durable as velvet, particularly when confronted with thousands of embroidery stitches.
  • As young girls learn embroidery stitches from older women, they are initiated into the culture.
1.3 [in singular, usually with negative] informal The smallest item of clothing: a man answered the door without a stitch on
More example sentences
  • When I shop, I simply must try on every stitch of clothing - it is not unusual to spend two or three hours in the dressing room.
  • Kip picks up a black-and-white picture of two men standing outdoors with their arms around each other's slender waists - and not a stitch of clothing on either.
  • Why, if their measure is to be taken from this lass, she hasn't a stitch of clothing, let alone a periapt or weapon.
2A sudden sharp pain in the side of the body, caused by strenuous exercise: she ran with a stitch in her side
More example sentences
  • I continued running and running, even when I felt a sharp stitch at my side.
  • Her legs were starting to grow tired and sore, and a stitch of pain was erupting in her side.
  • The stitch in her side burned painfully and her legs ached.
sharp pain, stabbing pain, shooting pain, stab of pain, pang, twinge, spasm


[with object]
Make, mend, or join (something) with stitches: stitch a plain seam with right sides together they stitched the cut on her face [as adjective,in combination]: (stitched) hand-stitched English dresses
More example sentences
  • Once the implant is in place, the gum is stitched over it and the area is left to heal.
  • Fred had stitched fine patchwork quilts that covered the beds and hung on the walls of his house.
  • He had screamed in agony as cuts on his feet were stitched without anaesthetic.
sew, baste, tack;
seam, hem;



in stitches

informal Laughing uncontrollably: his unique brand of droll self-mockery had his audiences in stitches
More example sentences
  • It worked so well: the entire area was in stitches laughing, myself included.
  • By the time we reached the ship, we were all in stitches with tears running down our cheeks we were laughing so hard.
  • They all arrived at the bathroom at the same time to see their mother in stitches on the floor, laughing.

a stitch in time saves nine

proverb If you sort out a problem immediately it may save a lot of extra work later.
Example sentences
  • The lead officer said: ‘It's a case of a stitch in time saves nine.’
  • But we will explain to people that sometimes a stitch in time saves nine and that there can be false economy.
  • Men say that a stitch in time saves nine, and so they take a thousand stitches today to save nine tomorrow.



Pronunciation: /ˈstiCHər/
Example sentences
  • There is a fantastic range of courses on offer, with something to cater for budding artists, computer fiends, IT beginners, yoga fanatics, chefs, historians and cross stitchers.
  • In 1811, an Englishman led riots to destroy the new and efficient fabric looms installed by textile mills, which replaced many of the sewers and stitchers who had been employed by the mills.
  • In their latest public showing, the creative stitchers, who met while studying embroidery at Lancaster, have filled the Sedbergh gallery with their diverse and eye-catching work.


Example sentences
  • The mental state and discipline needed to produce the laborious, meticulous, painstaking stitchery required for the making of watertight kamiks are not evident in Irene's work.
  • Don't you like hearing compliments on your stitchery?
  • The works consisted of supports ornamented or transformed by process - through tying, binding, unraveling and sewing, as well as stitchery and photographic representation.


Old English stice 'a puncture, stabbing pain', of Germanic origin; related to German Stich 'a sting, prick', also to stick2. The sense 'loop' (in sewing, etc.) arose in Middle English.

  • In Anglo-Saxon times stitch was used to describe any sharp stabbing pain rather than just a pain in the side caused by strenuous exercise. The word is related to stick. Shakespeare seems to have been the first to mention a stitch brought on by laughing. In Twelfth Night Maria invites her fellow conspirators to observe the lovelorn Malvolio, saying: ‘If you…will laugh yourselves into stitches, follow me.’ The sewing sense of stitch arose in the Middle Ages. According to the 18th-century proverb, a stitch in time saves nine. In other words, if you sort out a problem immediately, it may save a lot of extra work later. There does not seem to be any particular significance in the choice of the number nine aside from its similarity in sound to the word ‘time’. Stitch up, meaning ‘to frame or betray someone’, is recorded only from the 1970s. It was probably suggested by the betrayal being as neat and conclusive as an invisible repair to an item of clothing.

Words that rhyme with stitch

bewitch, bitch, ditch, enrich, fitch, flitch, glitch, hitch, itch, kitsch, Mitch, pitch, quitch, rich, snitch, switch, titch, twitch, which, witch

For editors and proofreaders

Syllabification: stitch

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