thread

1 of 2

noun

1
a
: 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
2
a
: 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
threadless adjective
threadlike adjective

thread

2 of 2

verb

threaded; threading; threads

transitive verb

1
a
: 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)
2
a(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
threader noun

Example Sentences

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 See More
Recent Examples on the Web
Noun
In late July, with Nope comfortably No. 1 at the domestic box office, Palmer was alerted to a Twitter thread comparing her career to that of Zendaya. Mikey O'connell, The Hollywood Reporter, 16 Nov. 2022 In May, Musk replied to a Twitter thread from Agrawal defending the company’s user metrics by tweeting back a poop emoji. Kurt Wagner, Fortune, 28 Oct. 2022 Ambassador to Germany Andrij Melnyk wrote in response to Musk’s Twitter thread. Natasha Bertrand, CNN, 11 Oct. 2022 Someone posted to a thread on Reddit recently about the HBO series Industry and its main character, Harper Stern (Myha’la Herrold). Wisdom Iheanyichukwu, refinery29.com, 22 Aug. 2022 The collision occurred on Higley Road between Chandler Heights and Riggs Road in Gilbert, according to a Twitter thread from the Gilbert Police Department. Sam Burdette, The Arizona Republic, 20 Aug. 2022 When the order arrived, Krassenstein uploaded a photo of his new phone to the Twitter thread. Landon Mion, Fox News, 17 Aug. 2022 The 28-year-old actor, singer and TV host appeared to respond Sunday to a viral Twitter thread comparing her career to Zendaya’s and denouncing colorism in the entertainment industry. Christi Carras, Los Angeles Times, 25 July 2022 Asked about the investigation, Armstrong pointed to a Twitter thread responding to details on each of the projects. Steven Zeitchik, Washington Post, 24 July 2022
Verb
That’s also a difficult needle to thread consistently — losing high-scoring games — but the Bears have shown a sudden knack for it lately. Brad Biggs, Chicago Tribune, 14 Nov. 2022 By failing to thread the needle with Bickford, however, the Dodgers thrust another important reliever into an awkward situation. Jack Harris, Los Angeles Times, 26 Aug. 2022 Running the drill in reverse can either twist the brush off the end of the rod (for brushes that thread on without set screws) or cause pieces of the rod to disconnect and get stuck in the dryer vent. Roy Berendsohn, Popular Mechanics, 14 Nov. 2022 Available in two sizes, this system uses slots that the gear straps thread into with the larger one coming equipped with a base to vertically support the load. Matt Beer, Outside Online, 2 Nov. 2022 Other updates include the ability to thread responses to individual messages, embed YouTube videos directly in messages, and get automatic transcriptions of voice messages on certain phones. WIRED, 23 Oct. 2022 But with social media and truly massive gaming platforms that thread together affinity groups that are not bound by time or space in an on-demand environment, this could change. Manori Ravindran, Variety, 19 Oct. 2022 To safely hook your pet up in the car, simply zip them into the carrier, thread the car seat through the car seat latches and put the long strap over the headrest. Jamie Spain, Good Housekeeping, 11 Oct. 2022 The result is a sudden exodus of civilians seeking safety, who thread their way over what is left of the bridge. Scott Peterson, The Christian Science Monitor, 3 Oct. 2022 See More

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.

Word History

Etymology

Noun

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

First Known Use

Noun

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

Verb

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

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

Dictionary Entries Near thread

Cite this Entry

“Thread.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/thread. Accessed 2 Dec. 2022.

Kids Definition

thread 1 of 2

noun

1
: a thin fine cord formed by spinning and twisting short fibers into a continuous strand
2
: something that resembles a thread
threads of a spiderweb
3
: the ridge or groove that winds around a screw
4
: a train of thought that connects the parts in a sequence (as of ideas or events)
lost the thread of the story
threadlike adjective

thread

2 of 2

verb

1
: to put a thread in working position in
thread a needle
2
: to pass through in the manner of a thread
thread film through a camera
3
: to make a way through or between
a river threading narrow valleys
also : to make (one's way) carefully
had to thread their way between the mountains
4
: to put together on a thread : string
thread beads
5
: to weave together with or as if with threads : intersperse
dark hair threaded with gray
threader noun

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