\ 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 thread (audio) \ adjective
threadlike \ ˈthred-​ˌlīk How to pronounce thread (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 The losing of the thread feels bigger than ideology, bigger certainly than parties. Peggy Noonan, WSJ, 16 Sep. 2021 In August 2020 Kerrie Ann Gardner, an artist and naturalist living in Devon, reproduced a number of Tunnicliffe’s illustrations as part of a Twitter thread (and subsequently for an essay for the Penguin website). Caroline Fraser, The New York Review of Books, 22 July 2021 What’s more, as many commenters pointed out in their replies to my thread, bundling two services for less than the price of one is just sort of … silly? Josef Adalian, Vulture, 24 Sep. 2021 His thread came after Woods, 23, launched her new fitness app FrstPlace this week. Glenn Garner,, 10 Sep. 2021 Webb posted another TikTok, reacting to Patinkin’s reaction, his Twitter thread and the attention around her original video. Los Angeles Times, 26 Aug. 2021 Along his precise lines the site [with its community engagement thread] explains a means to further his admirable goals., 23 July 2021 An adaptation of the thread was published in the Daily News. Michelle Theriault Boots, Anchorage Daily News, 11 Sep. 2021 In the comments of the Twitter thread in February that set Clancy and Lee’s survey in motion, some of the people who were discussing their experiences with abnormal periods identified as transgender or nonbinary. Nicole Stock,, 2 Sep. 2021 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb In his bid for Virginia governor, the Republican's best path to victory is to win over voters who supported Biden and Trump, a remarkably challenging needle to thread in a race that is emerging as a critical test for both parties. Jeff Zeleny, CNN, 1 Oct. 2021 In a 53-page analysis released Wednesday by the US Food and Drug Administration, Pfizer strives to thread a needle., 15 Sep. 2021 This regrowth is managed by supporting cells, called olfactory ensheathing cells, which form tunnels that neurons thread their way through. Isaac Chotiner, The New Yorker, 12 Aug. 2021 Sinema and Portman for weeks shepherded a group of 10 lawmakers from both parties toward a compromise that could thread a needle -- proffering the costly investments Biden initially sought without raising alarm among spending-wary Republicans. Compiled Democrat-gazette Staff From Wire Reports, Arkansas Online, 11 Aug. 2021 In Thursday’s announcement, Apple tried to thread that needle. Jack Nicas, New York Times, 5 Aug. 2021 Throughout the summer, the front office has been trying to thread a needle: Getting better in the short term while protecting the future. Chris Fedor, cleveland, 22 Aug. 2021 There are signs Biden is already trying to thread that needle. Patrick Reevell, ABC News, 15 June 2021 While Lamont has clashed with liberal Democrats over raising taxes on the rich, Ritter has been trying to thread the needle of pushing key Democratic spending priorities while at the same time avoiding tax hikes that could lead to a veto by Lamont. Christopher Keating,, 3 June 2021

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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Dictionary Entries Near thread



thread angle

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Last Updated

10 Oct 2021

Cite this Entry

“Thread.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 21 Oct. 2021.

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More Definitions for thread



English Language Learners Definition of thread

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: a long, thin piece of cotton, silk, etc., used for sewing
: 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

More from Merriam-Webster on thread

Nglish: Translation of thread for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of thread for Arabic Speakers Encyclopedia article about thread


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