Definition of thread in English:


Syllabification: thread
Pronunciation: /THred


  • 1A long, thin strand of cotton, nylon, or other fibers used in sewing or weaving.
    More 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.
    More 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.
    More 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.
    More 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.
    More 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.
    More 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.
    More 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] Back to top  
  • 1Pass a thread through the eye of (a needle) or through the needle and guides of (a sewing machine).
    More 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).
    More 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.
More 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.
More 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.



More 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.

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