Definition of thread in English:

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Pronunciation: /THred/


1A long, thin strand of cotton, nylon, or other fibers used in sewing or weaving.
Example sentences
  • Woven gauzes are manufactured from cotton yam or threads and woven like fabric.
  • She sighed and let her hands rest on her lap, her fingers absently playing with a loose thread of cotton.
  • Asbestos is the name of a group of minerals that occur naturally as masses of strong, flexible fibers that can be separated into thin threads and woven.
1.1Cotton, nylon, or other fibers spun into long, thin strands and used for sewing.
Example sentences
  • The cotton would be cleaned and then spun into yarn or thread.
  • She was on a production line that spins cotton thread onto the spools.
  • After the nurse stitched the wound with a sewing needle and cotton thread, the mother and baby were transferred and treated by Dr King and his colleagues at the nearest hospital.
cotton, filament, fiber;
yarn, string, twine
1.2 (threads) informal, chiefly North American Clothes.
Example sentences
  • Besides, what's the point of wearing the coolest threads of the season if your jacket doesn't say it all?
  • I'd love to dress up in the latest threads from designer brands, but I'm a student and just cannot afford it.
  • The new womenswear and menswear designer emporiums showcase threads from cutting edge houses, but you can still buy tartan shortbread in the food hall.
2A thing resembling a thread in length or thinness, in particular.
Example sentences
  • A pair of miniature scissors appeared in his hands next, and with mild curiosity, Gale watched the doctor snip gently at the thin silver threads in her skin.
2.1chiefly literary A long, thin line or piece of something: the river was a thread of silver below them
More example sentences
  • The older woman looked much like Jenna, only her face had a few more lines and the long black hair was touched with threads of silver.
  • Her hair had silver threads in it, and on her face were the beginnings of lines.
  • Now that he's close, I can see a few threads of silver in the thick black hair.
streak, strand, stripe, line, strip, seam, vein
2.2A theme or characteristic, typically forming one of several, running throughout a situation or piece of writing: a common thread running through the scandals was the failure to conduct audits
More example sentences
  • A common thread throughout this discourse is the sense that members of the subjugated regime are outside the mainstream.
  • And throughout, the common thread is the implications of property rights.
  • The common thread that ran throughout the entire discussion focused on the chasm that sometimes exists between teachers and retailers.
gist, train of thought, drift, direction;
theme, motif, tenor;
storyline, plot;
through line
3A group of linked messages posted on an Internet forum that share a common subject or theme.
Example sentences
  • I know there are other threads on this subject, but they are more specific in nature.
  • One of the unexpected benefits of posting the article to a newsgroup was that a thread developed on the subject of competition on the London to Manchester route.
  • If you have any problems that aren't resolved here, then you can post on the forum thread by clicking here
3.1A programming structure or process formed by linking a number of separate elements or subroutines, especially each of the tasks executed concurrently in multithreading.
Example sentences
  • Multiple streams of data are characteristic of applications which execute multiple threads and processes in parallel.
  • It solves the performance problem by executing all requests as threads in one process, or in a load-balanced system, in one process per server in the cluster.
  • All processes are considered threads by the operating system.
4 (also screw thread) A helical ridge on the outside of a screw, bolt, etc., or on the inside of a cylindrical hole, to allow two parts to be screwed together.
Example sentences
  • This can be done either by putting a screw thread of the correct pitch on the barrel's axle or, more often, by shifting a lever.
  • She took a standard coffee pot and put a perforated cylinder - similar to a sieve - in the middle, into which she put a plunger on a screw thread.
  • A gouge auger is similar, but instead of a screw thread there is a sharp-ended tube with a slot cut in the side.


[with object]
1Pass a thread through the eye of (a needle) or through the needle and guides of (a sewing machine).
Example sentences
  • I threaded up a needle with linen thread, and took one of the new-cut pieces of fabric and folded back a hem, and began my work.
  • I demonstrated how to thread the blunt tapestry needle, where to place the knot and how to hold and move the needle when stitching.
  • I stand and look down at the needle as I thread it with ease and neatly begin stitching.
1.1Pass (a long, thin object or piece of material) through something and into the required position for use: he threaded the rope through a pulley
More example sentences
  • The cameraman would show me how to thread the film and how to repair it.
  • APS cameras all auto-load these cartridges, so there is no messing about with threading film through a series of rollers.
  • I pulled on my pants, threading a black leather belt through the belt loops.
weave, inch, wind, squeeze, make
1.2 [no object] Move carefully or skillfully in and out of obstacles: she threaded her way through the tables
More example sentences
  • Carefully we threaded our way through the beach maze, around and between and over what seemed like an endless array of towels, blankets, beach umbrellas, and beach chairs.
  • He wanted a car small enough to thread through city streets, yet big enough to take three people and their luggage.
  • It was from Manorbier that I persuaded the children to join me in a walk along a small stretch of Pembrokeshire's 186 mile coastal path, threading between heather, sea pinks and campion along a volley of headlands.
1.3Interweave or intersperse as if with threads: his hair had become ill-kempt and threaded with gray
More example sentences
  • The play tells the story of his life amidst the turbulent times of the Penal Laws, and the narrative is threaded with her music.
  • Assertive, clean, black-fruit flavours are threaded with a necessary acidity and backed by chewy oak.
  • Waves of aromas and flavours of cigar boxes, ripe juicy blackcurrants and spice all harmoniously integrate with perfumed French oak and are threaded with firm acidity.
1.4Put (beads, chunks of food, or other small objects) together or singly on a thread, chain, or skewer that runs through the center of each one: Connie sat threading beads
More example sentences
  • A weight followed by another smaller bead were threaded on the wire.
  • It's just a case of threading them together like beads on a string, whether they make sense or not.
  • During the fourth year the child learns to cut with scissors and to thread beads, develops a mature pencil grasp, and learns to draw.
2 (usually as adjective threaded) Cut a screw thread in or on (a hole, screw, or other object).
Example sentences
  • That way you'll have a little wiggle room to finesse each screw into its respective hole and get it threaded.
  • What they do is to drill a pilot hole in the bolt, and place a bit into the hole that is reverse threaded so that while you are tightening up the bit, it is backing out the bolt.
  • For hardwoods, such as flooring, siding and rafters, use spiral threaded nails that turn as they are driven into the wood.



hang by a thread

Be in a highly precarious state.
Example sentences
  • But whatever had triggered it - impulsiveness, buttressing his position, or to soothe whatever remained of his conscience - his position hung by a thread.
  • Now Louis is fully recovered, and it is hard to believe looking at this happy little boy that his life once hung by a thread.
  • The tax authorities must be aware that York City's future hangs by a thread.

lose the (or one's) thread

Be unable to follow what someone is saying or remember what one is going to say next.
Example sentences
  • At this point I lost my thread and was unable to write a further paragraph.
  • It's achingly frustrating for the count to keep losing his thread, his memory, his balance.
  • You've made me lose my thread.



Pronunciation: /ˈTHredˌlīk/
Example sentences
  • So we left the chatter at the refreshment kiosk and did just that, explored the place off the beaten track, navigating rock to rock, picking up thread-like paths through the heather.
  • Our body cells contain 23 pairs of thread-like structures called chromosomes.
  • The spinal cord, which runs from the brain down through the bony spinal column, contains thread-like nerves that branch off to every part of the body.


Old English thrǣd (noun), of Germanic origin; related to Dutch draad and German Draht, also to the verb throw. The verb dates from late Middle English.

  • A Germanic word distantly related to throw. The expression hang by a thread goes back to the 16th century, and comes from the legend of Damocles. He was a flattering courtier of Dionysius I, ruler of Syracuse in Sicily in the 4th century bc, who constantly told his ruler that he must be the happiest of men. Eventually the king decided to give Damocles a graphic demonstration of how fragile his happiness was. Dionysius invited him to a sumptuous banquet, but then Damocles realized he had been seated under a sword suspended by a single hair right above his head. The legend has also given us the expression a sword of Damocles for an imminent danger or ever-present threat.

Words that rhyme with thread

abed, ahead, bed, behead, Birkenhead, bled, bread, bred, coed, cred, crossbred, dead, dread, Ed, embed, Enzed, fed, fled, Fred, gainsaid, head, infrared, ked, lead, led, Med, misled, misread, Ned, outspread, premed, pure-bred, read, red, redd, said, samoyed, shed, shred, sked, sled, sped, Spithead, spread, stead, ted, tread, underbred, underfed, wed

For editors and proofreaders

Syllabification: thread

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