thread

noun
\ 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

thread

verb
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

Keep scrolling for more

Other Words from thread

Noun

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

Verb

threader noun

Synonyms for thread

Synonyms: Noun

bristle, fiber, filament, hair

Synonyms: Verb

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

Visit the Thesaurus for More 

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
See More

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

The Crusades are a plum example of a topic that turns into a thread, leading the viewer through a labyrinth towards potential radicalization. Josephine Livingstone, The New Republic, "Who Owns the Crusades?," 11 June 2019 Even without Mary Louise pulling at those threads, things have got to fray. Mark Dawidziak, cleveland.com, "Meryl Streep is powerful addition to ‘Big Little Lies’," 7 June 2019 The thread of not drinking or using drugs wove through the conversation like kitchen twine. Amy Scattergood, San Diego Union-Tribune, "How the restaurant industry is tackling its substance abuse problem," 6 June 2019 Their common thread: bringing genome sequencing to the mainstream. Eric Betz, Discover Magazine, "George Church Wants to Make Genetic Matchmaking a Reality," 15 Apr. 2019 At last, the individual threads — ghostly filaments of diffuse hot gas — suddenly became visible. Quanta Magazine, "The Last of the Universe’s Ordinary Matter Has Been Found," 10 Sep. 2018 The liberal line is always that Roe hangs by a judicial thread, and one more conservative Justice will doom it. Ed Kilgore, Daily Intelligencer, "Are Democrats Crying Wolf on Threat to Abortion Rights?," 3 July 2018 But there is a common thread running through much of our recent coverage — of North Korea, and geopolitics generally. Elizabeth N. Saunders, Washington Post, "Trump and Kim will finally meet, but don’t expect much to change. Here’s why.," 11 June 2018 Stability is a common thread among the great Bay Area teams. Bruce Jenkins, San Francisco Chronicle, "In Bay Area pantheon of champions, Warriors are right at home," 10 June 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

Barrel staves threaded across the ceiling, sprouting jagged brass light fixtures. Josh Noel, chicagotribune.com, "Three Floyds launches distillery with the iconic brewery's same 'it's not normal' point of view," 6 June 2019 Some threading salons offer it gratis post-treatment. Glamour, "8 Things No One Ever Told You About Eyebrow Threading," 27 May 2019 In early December, Chesapeake was threading a drill bit through sandstone more than 2 miles underground. Rebecca Elliott, WSJ, "Chesapeake Energy, Fracking Pioneer, Bet on Oil. Then Prices Plunged," 1 Jan. 2019 The rotisserie roasted duck was one dish that truly disappointed, a thick pad of unrendered fat still ringing its breast, whose meat was also threaded with a sinew. Craig Laban, Philly.com, "The Bercy adds French brasserie sheen to thriving Ardmore scene," 13 July 2018 For a decade, pride parades have threaded through New Delhi’s streets. New York Times, "India’s Supreme Court Considers Decriminalizing Gay Sex," 10 July 2018 The two singles are intricately threaded together, with their music videos telling complementary parts of a larger lore and their sounds branching off from the same synthy pop trends. Billboard Staff, Billboard, "BTS' 50 Best Songs: Critics' Picks," 12 June 2018 That struck just one of the notes about fashion reality beyond glamour that threaded through the evening. Sarah Mower, Vogue, "Meghan Markle, Kate Moss, Richard Quinn, and More From Inside the 2018 Fashion Awards," 11 Dec. 2018 These particular milagros are shaped like arms and legs, presumably made in response to Kahlo’s problematic right leg that was later amputated, and threaded together in a large necklace over the course of 15 years. Emily Zemler, latimes.com, "The real Frida Kahlo comes alive in a London exhibit," 18 June 2018

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.

See More

First Known Use of thread

Noun

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

Verb

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

History and Etymology for thread

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

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about thread

Statistics for thread

Last Updated

20 Jun 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for thread

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

See more words from the same century

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for thread

thread

noun

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

thread

verb

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

thread

noun
\ 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

thread

verb
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

Keep scrolling for more

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

Britannica.com: 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).

WORD OF THE DAY

a device or gadget

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Words for Summer: A Quiz

  • a closeup of a sunflower
  • Which of the following words means “of or relating to summer”?
Name That Thing

Test your visual vocabulary with our 10-question challenge!

TAKE THE QUIZ
Dictionary Devil

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

TAKE THE QUIZ
Love words? Need even more definitions?

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