\ ˈthred How to pronounce thread (audio) \

Definition of thread

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1a : a filament, a group of filaments twisted together, or a filamentous length formed by spinning and twisting short textile fibers into a continuous strand
b : a piece of thread
2a : any of various natural filaments the threads of a spiderweb
b : a slender stream (as of water)
c : a projecting helical rib (as in a fitting or on a pipe) by which parts can be screwed together : screw thread
3 : something continuous or drawn out: such as
a : a line of reasoning or train of thought that connects the parts in a sequence (as of ideas or events) lost the thread of the story
b : a continuing element a thread of melancholy marked all his writing
c : a series of electronic messages (as on a message board or social media website) following a single topic or in response to a single message
4 : a tenuous or feeble support hung on by a thread
5 threads plural : clothing


threaded; threading; threads

Definition of thread (Entry 2 of 2)

transitive verb

1a : to pass a thread through the eye of (a needle)
b : to arrange a thread, yarn, or lead-in piece in working position for use in (a machine)
2a(1) : to pass something through in the manner of a thread thread a pipe with wire
(2) : to pass (something, such as a tape, line, or film) into or through something threaded a fresh roll of film into the camera
b : to make one's way through or between threading narrow alleys also : to make one's way usually cautiously through a hazardous situation
3 : to put together on or as if on a thread : string thread beads
4 : to interweave with or as if with threads : intersperse dark hair threaded with silver
5 : to form a screw thread on or in

intransitive verb

1 : weave sense 2 the car threaded through traffic
2 : to form a thread

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Other Words from thread


threadless \ ˈthred-​ləs How to pronounce threadless (audio) \ adjective
threadlike \ ˈthred-​ˌlīk How to pronounce threadlike (audio) \ adjective


threader noun

Synonyms for thread

Synonyms: Noun

Synonyms: Verb

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Examples of thread in a Sentence

Noun A thread was hanging from the hem of her coat. the unwary bug was snared in the sticky threads of the spider's web Verb She threaded her shoelace through the holes. thread film through a camera They had to thread their way through the crowd. Waiters threaded through the crowd. a river that threads through narrow valleys
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Recent Examples on the Web: Noun One evening in October 1969, Robert Gore was tinkering with a polymer called polytetrafluoroethylene, or PTFE, used for pipe-thread tape, hoping to find a way to make the expensive material go further. James R. Hagerty, WSJ, "Gore-Tex Inventor Robert Gore Dies at Age 83," 18 Sep. 2020 Many of the stories that have come to light in the past few months have one thread in common: They were told by people who broke nondisclosure agreements (NDA) in order to share their truths. Ariella Steinhorn, Fortune, "NDAs bear blame for some of the worst corporate cover-ups. How that should change," 18 Sep. 2020 Notice the thread that runs through these variations of conspiratorial behavior: Force. Andrew C. Mccarthy, National Review, "Yes, the DOJ Should Charge Violent Anti-American Radicals with Seditious Conspiracy," 17 Sep. 2020 Individual tasks which bind on a single thread completing are common, but entire whole-system workloads with no background threads are considerably less so. Jim Salter, Ars Technica, "Hands-on with Intel’s i7-1185G7 Tiger Lake prototype laptop," 17 Sep. 2020 Facebook thread theorizing the calls to defund the police precipitated a run on ammunition and firearms. Bryan Schott, The Salt Lake Tribune, "Iron County commissioner posts meme threatening violence against Black Lives Matter protesters," 16 Sep. 2020 There’s a thread, though, on its elliptical nature. Jake Coyle,, "Review: Back roads brutality in ‘The Devil all the Time’," 16 Sep. 2020 The shocking receipts make their debut after host Andy Cohen brings up the text thread Brandi shared with Lisa, Kyle Richards, Dorit Kemsley and Erika Girardi at Teddi Mellencamp Arroyave's baby shower earlier this season. Robyn Merrett,, "RHOBH Reunion: Lisa Rinna Reveals Alleged Texts Between Denise Richards and Brandi Glanville," 16 Sep. 2020 Deputy Chief Mark Simmons picked up the urgent thread in an email to Chief La’Ron Singletary a few hours later. Steve Orr, USA TODAY, "Emails show Rochester officials' attempts to conceal information about Daniel Prude's death," 16 Sep. 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb Vaccines are developed to try and thread the needle of stimulating a robust and lasting antibody immune response while not making anyone too sick. James Hamblin, The Atlantic, "Paging Dr. Hamblin: What If the Vaccine Only Works Half the Time?," 23 Sep. 2020 Wind it around some black candles, thread it through the railing on the stairs—the options are limitless! Madison Durham, USA TODAY, "15 amazing pieces of Halloween decor you can get from Walmart," 23 Sep. 2020 That needle seems impossible to thread, but with her Chucks, perhaps Harris pulled it off. Claire Zillman, Fortune, "The meaning of Kamala Harris’s viral shoe choice," 18 Sep. 2020 The mask has tiny loops inside to thread the mask through and is designed to sit on a smaller face. Stacey Leasca, Travel + Leisure, "This Teacher’s Super Simple Hack for Making Face Masks More Comfortable Is Going Viral," 8 Sep. 2020 To assemble each skewer, thread one cube of watermelon, one basil leaf (folded in half if large), and one piece of cheese. Darlene Zimmerman, Detroit Free Press, "Watermelon appetizer loaded with nutritious lycopene," 5 Sep. 2020 Family cars of the late 1960s — a Honda that crossed the country, a 1970s Ford and a VW van — thread together the journey from grief to hope in this memoir. Domenica Bongiovanni, The Indianapolis Star, "For your reading list: A New York Times bestseller is among Indiana Authors Awards winners," 1 Sep. 2020 Take the joined legs and thread them through the middle of the clothespin, then spread the legs apart and add bends to form little knees and feet., "San Antonio Parks and Recreation teaches kids to make clothespin bugs," 28 Aug. 2020 Some plans to thread the needle of doing things while staying healthy seem sensible. Stephanie Stradley, Houston Chronicle, "Stephanie Stradley’s Texans training camp preview," 14 Aug. 2020

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

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First Known Use of thread


before the 12th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a


14th century, in the meaning defined at transitive sense 1a

History and Etymology for thread


Middle English thred, from Old English thrǣd; akin to Old High German drāt wire, Old English thrāwan to cause to twist or turn — more at throw entry 1

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Time Traveler for thread

Time Traveler

The first known use of thread was before the 12th century

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Statistics for thread

Last Updated

27 Sep 2020

Cite this Entry

“Thread.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 1 Oct. 2020.

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More Definitions for thread


How to pronounce thread (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of thread

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: a long, thin piece of cotton, silk, etc., used for sewing
literary : a long, thin line of something
: the raised line that winds around a screw



English Language Learners Definition of thread (Entry 2 of 2)

: to put a thread, string, rope, etc., through a hole in something
: to put (film or tape) into a movie camera, tape recorder, etc., so that it is ready to be used
: to move forward by turning and going through narrow spaces


\ ˈthred How to pronounce thread (audio) \

Kids Definition of thread

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : a thin fine cord formed by spinning and twisting short fibers into a continuous strand
2 : a thin fine line or strand of something a thread of light
3 : the ridge or groove that winds around a screw
4 : a train of thought that connects the parts of something (as an argument or story)

Other Words from thread

threadlike \ -​ˌlīk \ adjective


threaded; threading

Kids Definition of thread (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : to put a thread in working position (as in a needle)
2 : to pass something through another thing Thread the film through the camera.
3 : to make a way through or between He rushes on and on … threading his way with perfect skill between tree-trunks …— C. S. Lewis, The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe
4 : to put together on a thread : string

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