\ 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

bristle, fiber, filament, hair

Synonyms: Verb

interlace, intersperse, interweave, lace, salt, weave, wreathe

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Examples of thread in a Sentence


A thread was hanging from the hem of her coat. the unwary bug was snared in the sticky threads of the spider's web


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

Sometime between all the stopwatches and Twitter threads and rules disputes and press-conference rants and putting-green confrontations, an actual golf tournament happened here at Liberty National. Daniel Rapaport,, "DeChambeau, Slow Play Controversy Overshadow Reed’s Victory at Northern Trust," 11 Aug. 2019 Manson made them using thread and elastic unraveled from his prison-issue underwear and dyed them with Kool-Aid. Los Angeles Times, "At the Museum of Death, every day is like a Charles Manson anniversary," 10 Aug. 2019 Coffee Lake's mobile i7 CPUs feature more cores and threads than the slimmer Ice Lake parts. Jim Salter, Ars Technica, "Intel reveals final details on Ice Lake mobile CPUs," 2 Aug. 2019 This has led me down many various rabbit holes of Sephora message boards, Reddit threads, and Amazon comments. Bella Cacciatore, Glamour, "This Amazon Top-Seller Is the Best Mascara You’ve Never Heard Of," 23 July 2019 Specifically around conversations, the balance of power right now between people who start tweets, people who participate in those threads, and just general people in the audience, is off kilter. Eric Johnson, Vox, "Twitter’s Kayvon Beykpour and Vijaya Gadde: the Code Conference interview (transcript)," 27 June 2019 Casey produces paintings on paper that dwell on color, layering and pattern in ways that evoke the meditative threads and lines of the watercolor studies and textiles of artists such as Agnes Martin and Anni Albers. Carolina A. Miranda,, "Datebook: A museum show explores what was showing on TV in the days of the U.S.S.R.," 20 June 2019 And with access to top-notch designer threads and world-class glam squads, there's absolutely no reason to play it safe. Allure, "All the Prettiest Hair Accessories From the 2019 Met Gala Red Carpet," 7 May 2019 What to make of Lucrécia, what to make of his wife who was embroidering in the sanatorium and would ask for red thread and lift her head hopefully when her husband arrived. Benjamin Moser, Harper's magazine, "The Indirect World," 10 Apr. 2019

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

Skipping from thread to thread felt a bit like arriving at a party where half the room was sipping non-alcoholic shrubs and the other half had spent the afternoon tailgating in a stadium parking lot. Anna Wiener, The New Yorker, "The Lonely Work of Moderating Hacker News," 8 Aug. 2019 But this is a hard wormhole to thread; Trekkies are gonna be Trekkies. Adam Rogers, WIRED, "Star Trek: Picard Shows Where the Franchise Is Boldly Going," 20 July 2019 How many Instagram photos feature a whitewashed stone wall with bunches of scarlet tomatoes pulled from the ground, plant and all, and hung upside down, or cherry tomatoes carefully threaded and hung as garlands? Evan Kleiman,, "Sun-dried tomatoes, the Mickey Rourke of food, get their second act," 10 July 2019 By using Nintendo's IP for publicity, then immediately retreating and reskinning when legally confronted, InfernoPlus may have threaded a very precarious fangame needle. Kyle Orland, Ars Technica, "Cease-and-desist transforms Mario Royale into DMCA Royale," 25 June 2019 The 2015 installation gets at a few ideas threaded throughout the show, including everyday heroes and their vulnerability. Deborah Martin,, "Crystal Bridges exhibit ‘Men of Steel, Women of Wonder’ lands in San Antonio," 19 June 2019 Outlaw country was a movement that involved threading a little long-haired hippie aspect into what had been the counterculture-averse world of country. John Adamian,, "Willie Nelson to helm Outlaw Music Festival, with Alison Krauss and Phil Lesh, at Xfinity," 7 June 2019 By the time Coleman won converts to free jazz, Cherry had already moved on to the next thing, creating extended suites teeming with improvisation but threaded together by sweet, hummable themes that seemed to pop up out of nowhere. Adam Shatz, The New York Review of Books, "The Apostle of Now-ness," 6 June 2019 Every winter, Arctic sea ice grows around the pole, its frozen tendrils threading along northern coasts. National Geographic, "The surprising reason polar bears need sea ice to survive," 1 Apr. 2019

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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Last Updated

15 Aug 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for thread

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

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More Definitions for thread



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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More from Merriam-Webster on thread

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with thread

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for thread

Spanish Central: Translation of thread

Nglish: Translation of thread for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of thread for Arabic Speakers Encyclopedia article about thread

Comments on thread

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


a usually brief trip or an expedition

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