thread·​bare ˈthred-ˌber How to pronounce threadbare (audio)
: having the nap worn off so that the thread shows : shabby
threadbare clothes
: wearing threadbare clothing : very poor
took in threadbare relativesRussell Baker
: barely adequate because of cheapness or shabbiness
a threadbare production
: exhausted of interest or freshness
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views of minorities that are stereotyped and out-of-date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 His party has promised cuts to taxes and public spending, which some economists say are unrealistic given how threadbare budgets already are. NBC News, 4 July 2024 There are massive gaps in mental health care outside hospitals, too — from a shortage of spots in outpatient programs to a threadbare workforce. Angela Roberts, Baltimore Sun, 18 Apr. 2024 As the population of migrants sleeping outside Chicago police stations peaked at 3,900 — with up to 850 others camped out at O’Hare — that fall, pictures of the threadbare tent cities shocked the nation. A.d. Quig, Chicago Tribune, 12 May 2024 Oversight of guardians is also threadbare, ProPublica found. Jake Pearson, ProPublica, 30 Apr. 2024 See all Example Sentences for threadbare 

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'threadbare.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

First Known Use

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

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

Dictionary Entries Near threadbare

Cite this Entry

“Threadbare.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 24 Jul. 2024.

Kids Definition


thread·​bare ˈthred-ˌba(ə)r How to pronounce threadbare (audio)
: worn so much that the thread shows : shabby
threadbare clothes
: barely adequate
a threadbare store with few items
a threadbare event lacking excitement
: having lost freshness and interest from overuse
threadbare jokes

More from Merriam-Webster on threadbare

Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
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