\ ˈyärn How to pronounce yarn (audio) \

Definition of yarn

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1a : a continuous often plied strand composed of either natural or man-made fibers or filaments and used in weaving and knitting to form cloth
b : a similar strand of another material (such as metal, glass, or plastic)
2 [from the idiom spin a yarn "to tell a tale"] : a narrative of adventures especially : a tall tale a roaring good yarn


yarned; yarning; yarns

Definition of yarn (Entry 2 of 2)

intransitive verb

: to tell a yarn

Keep scrolling for more

Other Words from yarn


yarner noun

Synonyms for yarn

Synonyms: Noun

Visit the Thesaurus for More 

Examples of yarn in a Sentence

Noun The sheep's wool will be spun into yarn. yarns about ghosts and goblins a storyteller who spins yarns that will keep any audience riveted
See More
Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Each sweater is made following their specifications, choosing together the yarn and the color combinations. Tiziana Cardini, Vogue, "These Summery Hand-Knits Can Be Made to Order via Instagram," 30 Apr. 2021 After the Biden/Harris ticket won the election, Neighborhood Fiber’s owner Karida Collins created the yarn to mark the moment. Washington Post, "Vice President Harris is making her mark on the Washington-area crochet scene," 12 Apr. 2021 The blankets are all made from soft acrylic yarn, allowing for bright, bold colors, while remaining machine-washable and free from running, fading, or shrinking. Travel + Leisure, "Baublebar Just Launched a Collection of Customizable Throw Blankets," 1 Apr. 2021 From yarn to toy and massive super stores, a number of retail shops have closed during the last year. Alexandria Burris, The Indianapolis Star, "5 Indianapolis businesses we've said goodbye to during the coronavirus pandemic," 9 Mar. 2021 But this requires patience to find the right color yarn that will disguise the holes and the skill to match the weave closely. Arkansas Online, "OPINION | MALE CALL: Moth holes in sweaters can be rewoven by an expert," 22 Feb. 2021 LaQuette offers readers a yarn of a suspense story with the danger palpable on every page. Maureen Lee Lenker, EW.com, "Hot Stuff: February romance novels are tender and warmhearted," 1 Mar. 2021 There is little time to recover from a yarn that bombs. Norman B. Gildin, sun-sentinel.com, "When humor isn’t funny | Opinion," 26 Feb. 2021 And if all that weren’t enough, Skull Island is also a science-fiction survival yarn in the tradition of Jules Verne’s Journey to the Center of the Earth and Mysterious Island, wherein squabbling adventurers get picked off by beasts. Matt Zoller Seitz, Vulture, "My Heart Belongs to the MonsterVerse," 7 Apr. 2021 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb China exports unprocessed cotton to 14 countries, including Vietnam, Thailand, India, Pakistan and Bangladesh, and yarn to 190 countries, according to the International Cotton Advisory Committee, an international trade association in Washington. New York Times, "Global Brands Find It Hard to Untangle Themselves From Xinjiang Cotton," 6 Apr. 2021 Suddenly yarn that once required days to spin could be had in hours, or even minutes. Virginia Postrel, Star Tribune, "Women's history reveals how liberation follows when technology 'destroys jobs'," 20 Mar. 2021 Renee Charley spins yarn using a drop spindle, as a baby naps in his cradleboard. Kiliii Yüyan, Travel + Leisure, "From Everyday Life to Winter Rituals, These Photographs Show the Life of the Navajo Nation in Arizona," 26 Nov. 2020 The cotton yarn that Brackens dyes by hand, sometimes using tea or bleach, is a nod to the crop’s weighted history in the South; his own grandmother picked cotton as a girl. Marley Marius, Vogue, "With “Darling Divined,” Textile Artist Diedrick Brackens Plumbs His Southern Roots," 13 Oct. 2020 Wrap embroidered burlap fabric and yarn around your pumpkins, and secure everything in place with hot glue. Shelby Deering, Better Homes & Gardens, "12 Festive Ways to Feature Fall Pumpkin Decor in Your Home," 10 Sep. 2020 Order some beads and yarn to make friendship bracelets with. Hadley Mendelsohn, House Beautiful, "25 Ways to Recreate Summer Camp at Home," 16 June 2020 What will yarn stores look like while social distancing? Radhika Marya, Fortune, "How yarn stores are adapting to and preparing for social distancing," 10 June 2020 Many others have turned, like me, to yarn crafts as a form of stress relief, hoping to lose themselves in a simple, repetitive activity or to make the most of their time in quarantine by learning a new skill. Rosa Inocencio Smith, The Atlantic, "How Crafting Can Help Ease Pandemic Anxiety," 1 Apr. 2020

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


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


1812, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for yarn


Middle English yerne, yarne "spun fiber," going back to Old English gearn, going back to Germanic *garna- (whence also Middle Dutch gaern, garen "spun fiber," Old High German & Old Norse garn), masculine noun probably from the same base as feminine *garnō "intestine" (whence Old Norse gǫrn, plural garnar "guts") and *garnja- (in Old English micgern, midirne "fat around the entrails of an animal," Old Saxon midgarni, Old High German mittigarni, with *midja- mid entry 1), going back to Indo-European *ǵhorH-n- (whence also Lithuanian žarnà "intestine" and Greek khordḗ "catgut, string of a musical instrument, sausage," in plural "guts, tripe," if altered from *khornḗ), suffixed o-grade derivative of *ǵhr̥H- "gut, cord made from animal intestines," whence Latin haru- "intestines" (in haruspex haruspex), Sanskrit híraḥ "band, strip," hirā́ "vein"

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about yarn

Time Traveler for yarn

Time Traveler

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

See more words from the same century

Statistics for yarn

Last Updated

4 May 2021

Cite this Entry

“Yarn.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/yarn. Accessed 13 May. 2021.

Style: MLA
MLACheck Mark Icon ChicagoCheck Mark Icon APACheck Mark Icon Merriam-WebsterCheck Mark Icon

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for yarn



English Language Learners Definition of yarn

: a long, thin piece of cotton, wool, etc., that is thicker than thread and that is used for knitting and weaving
: an exciting or interesting story especially : a story that is so surprising or unusual that it is difficult to believe


\ ˈyärn How to pronounce yarn (audio) \

Kids Definition of yarn

1 : a natural or manufactured fiber (as of cotton, wool, or rayon) formed as a continuous thread for use in knitting or weaving
2 : an interesting or exciting story Grandpa said, “How about a story? Spin us a yarn.”— Sharon Creech, Walk Two Moons

Comments on yarn

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


Test Your Vocabulary

Star Wars Words Quiz

  • cu jedi training
  • The bounty portion of bounty hunters (such as Boba Fett) comes from a Latin word meaning
True or False

Test your knowledge - and maybe learn something along the way.

Universal Daily Crossword

A daily challenge for crossword fanatics.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

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