thread·​bare | \ ˈthred-ˌber How to pronounce threadbare (audio) \

Definition of threadbare

1a : having the nap worn off so that the thread shows : shabby threadbare clothes
b : wearing threadbare clothing : very poor took in threadbare relatives— Russell Baker
c : barely adequate because of cheapness or shabbiness a threadbare production
2 : exhausted of interest or freshness

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Other Words from threadbare

threadbareness noun

Choose the Right Synonym for threadbare

trite, hackneyed, stereotyped, threadbare mean lacking the freshness that evokes attention or interest. trite applies to a once effective phrase or idea spoiled from long familiarity. "you win some, you lose some" is a trite expression hackneyed stresses being worn out by overuse so as to become dull and meaningless. all of the metaphors and images in the poem are hackneyed stereotyped implies falling invariably into the same pattern or form. views of minorities that are stereotyped and out-of-date threadbare applies to what has been used until its possibilities of interest have been totally exhausted. a mystery novel with a threadbare plot

Examples of threadbare in a Sentence

bought a threadbare couch at a garage sale a novel filled with nothing but threadbare clichés
Recent Examples on the Web The nation’s health care system is so threadbare that Haitians regularly die of easily treatable ailments like diarrhea, and public hospitals often have to charge patients for basics like syringes and gloves. Catherine Porter, New York Times, 22 Apr. 2020 There, threadbare health care services, the impossibility of social distancing in packed slum communities, and an absence of economic safety nets are incubating a human tragedy of potentially cataclysmic scale. Paul Salopek, National Geographic, 6 Apr. 2020 And proximity to both nature and death can sometimes draw us closer to it, can thin the veil into something threadbare and shimmering. Mary Pembleton, New York Times, 17 Apr. 2020 After the unexpected gift of Lamb, the second day was about the need to stock a threadbare defense. David Moore, Dallas News, 25 Apr. 2020 Inside a tent encampment in Sicily, an immigrant laborer ties a threadbare piece of cloth over his face to protect himself from the virus. David Kortava, The New Yorker, 20 Apr. 2020 Coronavirus response is currently a threadbare patchwork of local, state, and national activity, but that may change as the pandemic continues to wreak havoc. David Karpf, Wired, 10 Apr. 2020 The Browns are in an excellent position to fortify their offensive line after leaving it glaringly threadbare in 2019. Scott Patsko, cleveland, 8 Apr. 2020 Economic inequality is exacerbated by racial injustice, both held in place by a threadbare social-safety net. Keeanga-yamahtta Taylor, The New Yorker, 30 Mar. 2020

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'threadbare.' 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 threadbare

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

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Time Traveler for threadbare

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The first known use of threadbare was in the 14th century

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Dictionary Entries Near threadbare

thread bar


thread blight

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Cite this Entry

“Threadbare.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 25 Oct. 2021.

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More Definitions for threadbare



English Language Learners Definition of threadbare

: very thin and in bad condition from too much use : shabby
: not very effective, interesting, etc., because of being used too often


thread·​bare | \ ˈthred-ˌber How to pronounce threadbare (audio) \

Kids Definition of threadbare

1 : worn so much that the thread shows : shabby
2 : not effective because of overuse a threadbare excuse

More from Merriam-Webster on threadbare

Nglish: Translation of threadbare for Spanish Speakers


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