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 views of minorities that are stereotyped and out-of-date threadbare applies to what has been used until its possibilities of interest have been totally exhausted.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

Chief Executive Pascal Soriot, who joined AstraZeneca in 2012, has invested heavily in research and development to rebuild the company’s once-threadbare pipeline, especially in the area of cancer medicine. Denise Roland, WSJ, "AstraZeneca Turns a Corner After a Decade of Struggles," 14 Feb. 2019 Theo sets out to help patch up his new friends, a threadbare angel, a rusty tin soldier, a robin that has forgotten how to sing, and a rocking horse with an indiscriminate appetite. Meghan Cox Gurdon, WSJ, "Children’s Books: Season’s Readings," 30 Nov. 2018 That threadbare maintenance is starting to show, too. Kyle Orland, Ars Technica, "ROM sites are falling, but a legal loophole could save game emulation," 21 Aug. 2018 Children, many in threadbare clothes, skip down rocky alleyways and boot soccer balls into rusty, netless goals. Deirdre Fernandes,, "An education in hope," 7 July 2018 The vitrines with his walking sticks, watercolor brushes, smeary palette; a fishing net on the wall; and a room playing three early 20th-century documentary films of Maine feel as if meant to disguise threadbare patches in the curatorial thesis. Richard B. Woodward, WSJ, "‘Winslow Homer and the Camera: Photography and the Art of Painting’ Review: An Unclear Creative Influence," 4 July 2018 Babar’s floppy ears are threadbare, both arms patched up. Ella Riley-adams, Vogue, "Is It Okay to Have Stuffed Animals as an Adult?," 12 June 2018 But at 3,400 miles, the carpet was threadbare at the driver’s foot rest. Mark Maynard,, "2018 Mitsubishi Eclipse Cross: Forever young," 22 June 2018 The developer announced the news today with a threadbare teaser that still tells us absolutely nothing about the game. Megan Farokhmanesh, The Verge, "Life is Strange 2’s first episode arrives on September 27th," 22 June 2018

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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Statistics for threadbare

Last Updated

11 May 2019

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Time Traveler for threadbare

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

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More Definitions for threadbare



English Language Learners Definition of threadbare

: very thin and in bad condition from too much use
: 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

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More from Merriam-Webster on threadbare

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with threadbare

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for threadbare

Spanish Central: Translation of threadbare

Nglish: Translation of threadbare for Spanish Speakers

Comments on threadbare

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


to move with exaggerated bouncy motions

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