\ 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


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

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Other Words from thread


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


threader noun

Synonyms for thread

Synonyms: Noun

Synonyms: Verb

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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
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Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Suffice to say, at 6-5 and with their playoff hopes hanging by a thread, the Colts cannot afford to have any more lapses in coverage. Jim Ayello, Indianapolis Star, "Colts secondary, burned by big plays in Houston, eager to prove that was blip on radar," 28 Nov. 2019 The half-time whistle blew with the visitors ahead by two goals, and Napoli's Champions League hopes hanging by a thread., "Napoli 2-4 Lazio: The 90 Minute Champions League Shootout That Had it All," 6 Nov. 2019 The population was believed to be down to just 30 individuals hanging on by a thread in just one undeveloped location on the western tip of the island, at Florida Point. Dennis Pillion |, al, "Alabama beach mouse helped build the dunes that protect our coast," 23 Oct. 2019 The Falcons are really struggling, and the job of coach Dan Quinn is dangling by a thread. Sam Farmer, Los Angeles Times, "Column: Jalen Ramsey’s Rams debut shows what’s around corner for their defense," 20 Oct. 2019 With hopes hanging by a thread, Scotland coach Gregor Townsend has pleaded with organizers to ensure the game goes ahead. Daniel Gallan, CNN, "Scotland coach keeps faith as typhoon threatens World Cup," 10 Oct. 2019 The Pac-12′s hopes of getting a crack at the national title now hang by a thread. oregonlive, "The Pac-12′s College Football Playoff chances are fading away: Issues & Answers," 21 Sep. 2019 Within two decades, the Saponi way was dangling by a thread, blending with the Anglo culture in a mix that will ring familiar to many Southern Native bands. Nick Martin, The New Republic, "IT: Chapter Two and the Great American Tradition of Selling Native Spirituality," 16 Sep. 2019 Several notable indies have imploded in recent years (The Weinstein Co., Broad Green, Open Road), while others are holding on by a thread (STX, Annapurna). Tatiana Siegel, The Hollywood Reporter, "How Film Producers Became the New Expendables: "There's Panic and Confusion"," 15 Aug. 2019 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb Meanwhile, in single-threaded Passmark, the 9900KS was 39% faster—and once again, the i9-10980XE fell behind its older sibling, the i9-9980XE. Jim Salter, Ars Technica, "Intel Core i9-10980XE—a step forward for AI, a step back for everything else," 26 Nov. 2019 People can post updates, emojis, and notifications, and Cocoon will thread these conversations automatically. Michael J. Coren, Quartz, "Former Facebook employees are creating Cocoon, a social media network for your family," 25 Nov. 2019 Today, lithium-ion battery technology is the industry standard and powers an increasingly wider selection of equipment, even high-torque tools as chain saws, large miter saws and machines to thread steel pipe. Roy Berendsohn, Popular Mechanics, "Green Buildings Are the New Thing, But What About Green Construction Sites?," 31 Oct. 2019 Millions of immigrants who’ve received their U.S. citizenship and become eligible to vote are gently reshaping — and threatening — the electoral path that President Donald Trump must thread to win reelection. Tribune News Service, oregonlive, "As Trump seeks reelection, a growing army of immigrant voters stands in his path," 31 Oct. 2019 Bounce streamlines file sharing during a record's creation by allowing music creators and their team to organize tracks and metadata, compare different versions, securely share demos and send and receive time-stamped, threaded feedback. Chris Eggertsen, Billboard, "Music Workflow App Bounce Launches Public Version," 30 Oct. 2019 When the boat at last threaded its way into the harbor and Thunberg stepped out onto firm ground, her knees shook a little. Mattie Kahn, Glamour, "The World According to Greta," 22 Oct. 2019 The definition is found instead in the Code of Federal Regulations: That part of a firearm which provides housing for the hammer, bolt or breechblock, and firing mechanism, and which is usually threaded at its forward portion to receive the barrel. Robert Verbruggen, National Review, "The ATF Has Been Enforcing a Rule That Does Not Exist," 18 Oct. 2019 At an aggressive 37-40 mph, the Mach-E had little body roll and easily threaded the space among the cones. Mark Phelan, Detroit Free Press, "Mustang Mach-E: Fast, nimble, smooth. Is this the electric vehicle America’s waited for?," 18 Nov. 2019

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.

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First Known Use of thread


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


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

History and Etymology for thread


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

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Time Traveler for thread

Time Traveler

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

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Statistics for thread

Last Updated

5 Dec 2019

Cite this Entry

“Thread.” The Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., Accessed 9 December 2019.

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More Definitions for thread


How to pronounce thread (audio)

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



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


\ 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


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

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