a. Fine cord of a fibrous material, such as cotton or flax, made of two or more filaments twisted together and used in needlework and the weaving of cloth.
b. A piece of such cord.
a. A thin strand, cord, or filament of natural or manufactured material.
b. Something that suggests the fineness or thinness of such a strand, cord, or filament: a thread of smoke.
c. Something that suggests the continuousness of such a strand, cord, or filament: lost the thread of his argument.
3. A helical or spiral ridge on a screw, nut, or bolt.
a. A portion of a program that can run independently of and concurrently with other portions of the program.
b. A set of posts on a newsgroup, composed of an initial post about a topic and all responses to it.
5. threads Slang Clothes.
v. thread·ed, thread·ing, threads
a. To pass one end of a thread through the eye of (a needle, for example).
b. To pass (something) through in the manner of a thread: thread the wire through the opening.
c. To pass a tape or film into or through (a device): thread a film projector.
d. To pass (a tape or film) into or through a device.
2. To connect by running a thread through; string: thread beads.
3. Sports To throw or send (a pass) through a heavily defended area to a teammate.
a. To make one's way cautiously through: threading dark alleys.
b. To make (one's way) cautiously through something.
5. To occur here and there throughout; pervade: “More than 90 geologic faults thread the Los Angeles area” (Science News).
6. To machine a thread on (a screw, nut, or bolt).
7. To remove (body hair) by using a looped thread that has been wound tightly in the middle.
1. To make one's way cautiously: threaded through the shoals and sandbars.
2. To proceed by a winding course.
3. To form a thread when dropped from a spoon, as boiling sugar syrup.
[Middle English, from Old English thrǣd; see terə-1 in the Appendix of Indo-European roots.]
The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2020 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
Indo-European & Semitic Roots Appendices
Thousands of entries in the dictionary include etymologies that trace their origins back to reconstructed proto-languages. You can obtain more information about these forms in our online appendices:
The Indo-European appendix covers nearly half of the Indo-European roots that have left their mark on English words. A more complete treatment of Indo-European roots and the English words derived from them is available in our Dictionary of Indo-European Roots.