noun, often attributive
her·​ring·​bone | \ ˈher-iŋ-ˌbōn , ˈhe-riŋ-\

Definition of herringbone

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : a pattern made up of rows of parallel lines which in any two adjacent rows slope in opposite directions
2a : a twilled fabric with a herringbone pattern also : a suit made of this fabric
b : a herringbone arrangement (as of materials or parts)
3 : a method in skiing of ascending a slope by herringboning


herringboned; herringboning; herringbones

Definition of herringbone (Entry 2 of 2)

transitive verb

1 : to produce a herringbone pattern on
2 : to arrange in a herringbone pattern

intransitive verb

1 : to produce a herringbone pattern
2 : to ascend a slope by toeing out on skis and placing the weight on the inner side

Illustration of herringbone

Illustration of herringbone


herringbone 1

In the meaning defined above

Examples of herringbone in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

On display were lush herringbone suits, cozy printed knitwear and hulking shearling coats that ought to come with a ranch of their own. Jacob Gallagher, WSJ, "At a Celeb-Filled 50th Anniversary Show, Ralph Lauren Was Back on Top, Doubters Be Damned," 10 Sep. 2018 Pastel and gold herringbone probably wasn't Don Draper's style, but this sweet (and inexpensive!) makeover sure suits us. Lauren Piro, Good Housekeeping, "This Bar Cart's Best Days Are Ahead of It," 23 Feb. 2015 Think herringbone and patchwork, earthy shades and organic shapes. Kim Cook, The Seattle Times, "As you decorate for fall, remember: Cozy," 7 Sep. 2018 Materials include marble, glass, ceramic, and wood, mostly in cool Mediterranean colors with bright pops of red and oversized herringbone. Jesse Dorris, House Beautiful, "First Look: Paola Navone's New Crate and Barrel Collection," 6 Sep. 2013 Photo: Vanessa Berberian for The Wall Street Journal More from Mansion The kitchen cabinets and countertops are made from dark wenge hardwood, and its floor is tiled in a herringbone pattern of black bricks. Ruth Bloomfield, WSJ, "Building a Home Over the Office to Achieve Work-Life Balance," 20 Nov. 2018 To create the herringbone pattern with a hint of sheen, Kwandaa printed an online image on glossy paper. Taysha Murtaugh, Country Living, "This Mom Made a 'Fixer Upper' Dollhouse, and It's a Flippin' Masterpiece," 17 Mar. 2018 The space is dimly lit and feels a bit like a modern-day speakeasy—think dark patinated walls and herringbone wood floors. Alex Van Buren, Condé Nast Traveler, "20 Best Italian Restaurants in New York," 27 Feb. 2018 The quilts come in muted herringbone and geometric patterns, and cost $370 to $955. Max Berlinger, New York Times, "This Old Thing? Quilts Hit the Catwalk," 9 May 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'herringbone.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

See More

First Known Use of herringbone


1659, in the meaning defined at sense 1


1787, in the meaning defined at transitive sense 1

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about herringbone

Share herringbone

Statistics for herringbone

Last Updated

14 Feb 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for herringbone

The first known use of herringbone was in 1659

See more words from the same year

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for herringbone



English Language Learners Definition of herringbone

: a pattern used on cloth that consists of rows of parallel lines that slant in opposite directions to form V shapes

More from Merriam-Webster on herringbone

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with herringbone

Comments on herringbone

What made you want to look up herringbone? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


excited commotion or publicity

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

What did you just call me?! A Quiz

  • rows-of-various-emoji
  • If a member of the audience describes your speech as bombastic, does that person mean it is:
How Strong Is Your Vocabulary?

Test your vocabulary with our 10-question quiz!

Syn City

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.


Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!