Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • transitive v. To draw out and twist (fibers) into thread.
  • transitive v. To form (thread or yarn) in this manner.
  • transitive v. To form (a web or cocoon, for example) by extruding viscous filaments.
  • transitive v. To make or produce by or as if by drawing out and twisting.
  • transitive v. To relate or create: spun tales for the children.
  • transitive v. To prolong or extend: spin out a visit with an old friend.
  • transitive v. To cause to rotate swiftly; twirl.
  • transitive v. To shape or manufacture by a twirling or rotating process.
  • transitive v. To provide an interpretation of (a statement or event, for example), especially in a way meant to sway public opinion: "a messenger who spins bogus research into a vile theology of hatred” ( William A. Henry III).
  • transitive v. Slang To play (a phonograph record or records), especially as a disc jockey.
  • intransitive v. To make thread or yarn by drawing out and twisting fibers.
  • intransitive v. To extrude viscous filaments, forming a web or cocoon.
  • intransitive v. To rotate rapidly; whirl. See Synonyms at turn.
  • intransitive v. To seem to be whirling, as from dizziness; reel: My head spun after doing a cartwheel.
  • intransitive v. To ride or drive rapidly.
  • intransitive v. To fish with a light rod, lure, and line and a reel with a stationary spool.
  • n. The act of spinning.
  • n. A swift whirling motion.
  • n. A state of mental confusion.
  • n. Informal A short drive in a vehicle: took a spin in the new car.
  • n. The flight condition of an aircraft in a nose-down, spiraling, stalled descent.
  • n. A distinctive point of view, emphasis, or interpretation: "Dryden . . . was adept at putting spin on an apparently neutral recital of facts” ( Robert M. Adams).
  • n. A distinctive character or style: an innovative chef who puts a new spin on traditional fare.
  • n. Physics The intrinsic angular momentum of a subatomic particle. Also called spin angular momentum.
  • n. Physics The total angular momentum of an atomic nucleus.
  • n. Physics A quantum number expressing spin angular momentum.
  • spin off To derive (a company or product, for example) from something larger.
  • spin out To rotate out of control, as a skidding car leaving a roadway.
  • idiom spin (one's) wheels Informal To expend effort with no result.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • v. To rotate, revolve, gyrate (usually quickly); to partially or completely rotate to face another direction.
  • v. To make yarn by twisting and winding fibers together.
  • v. To present, describe, or interpret, or to introduce a bias or slant so as to give something a favorable or advantageous appearance.
  • v. To make the ball move sideways when it bounces on the pitch.
  • v. To move sideways when bouncing.
  • v. To form into thin strips or ribbons, as with sugar
  • n. Circular motion.
  • n. A quantum angular momentum associated with subatomic particles, which also creates a magnetic moment.
  • n. A favourable comment or interpretation intended to bias opinion on an otherwise unpleasant situation.
  • n. Rotation of the ball as it flies through the air; sideways movement of the ball as it bounces.
  • n. A condition of flight where a stalled aircraft is simultaneously pitching, yawing and rolling in a spinning motion.
  • n. A brief trip by vehicle.
  • adj. Describing a spin bowler, or his style of bowling.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. The act of spinning.
  • n. Velocity of rotation about some specified axis.
  • n. an interpretation of an event which is favorable to the interpreter or to the person s/he supports. A person whose task is to provide such interpretations for public relations purposes is called a spin doctor.
  • intransitive v. To practice spinning; to work at drawing and twisting threads; to make yarn or thread from fiber
  • intransitive v. To move round rapidly; to whirl; to revolve, as a top or a spindle, about its axis.
  • intransitive v. To stream or issue in a thread or a small current or jet.
  • intransitive v. To move swifty
  • transitive v. To draw out, and twist into threads, either by the hand or machinery; ; to produce by drawing out and twisting a fibrous material.
  • transitive v. To draw out tediously; to form by a slow process, or by degrees; to extend to a great length; -- with out.
  • transitive v. To protract; to spend by delays.
  • transitive v. To cause to turn round rapidly; to whirl; to twirl.
  • transitive v. To form (a web, a cocoon, silk, or the like) from threads produced by the extrusion of a viscid, transparent liquid, which hardens on coming into contact with the air; -- said of the spider, the silkworm, etc.
  • transitive v. To shape, as malleable sheet metal, into a hollow form, by bending or buckling it by pressing against it with a smooth hand tool or roller while the metal revolves, as in a lathe.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • To draw out and twist into threads, either by the hand or by machinery: as, to spin wool, cotton, or flax.
  • To make, fabricate, or form by drawing out and twisting the materials of: as, to spin a thread or a web; to spin glass.
  • To form by the extrusion in long slender filaments or threads of viscous matter which hardens in air: said of the spider, the silkworm, and other insects: as, to spin silk or gossamer; to spin a web or cocoon.
  • Figuratively, to fabricate or produce in a manner analogous to the drawing out and twisting of wool or flax into threads, or to the processes of the spider or the silkworm: sometimes with out.
  • To whirl rapidly; cause to turn rapidly on its own axis by twirling: as, to spin a top; to spin a coin on a table.
  • To fish with a swivel or spoon-bait: as, to spin the upper pool.
  • In sheet-metal work, to form in a lathe, as a disk of sheet-metal, into a globe, cup, vase, or like form.
  • To reject at an examination; “send spinning.”
  • To form threads by drawing out and twisting the fiber of wool, cotton, flax, and the like, especially with the distaff and spindle, with the spinning-wheel, or with spinning-machinery.
  • To form threads out of a viscous fluid, as a spider or silkworm.
  • To revolve rapidly; whirl, as a top or a spindle.
  • To issue in a thread or small stream; spirt.
  • To go or move rapidly; go fast: as, to spin along the road.
  • To use a spinner or spinning-spoon; troll: as, to spin for trout.
  • To be made to revolve, as a minnow on the trolling-spoon.
  • n. A rapid revolving or whirling motion, as that of a top on its axis; a rapid twirl: as, to give a coin a spin.
  • n. A continued rapid motion or action of any kind; a spirited dash or run; a single effort of high speed, as in running a race; a spurt.
  • n. In mathematics, a rotation-velocity considered as represented by a line, the axis of rotation, and a length marked upon that line proportional to the number of turns per unit of time.
  • n. A variation of the game of new-market in which the holder of the diamond ace is allowed to play it in order to stop the suit, provided it is his play to the sequence at the time. See newmarket.
  • n. In cricket, a twist or rotation imparted to the ball by the bowler.
  • n. An abbreviation of spinster.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • n. the act of rotating rapidly
  • v. work natural fibers into a thread
  • v. cause to spin
  • v. form a web by making a thread
  • v. revolve quickly and repeatedly around one's own axis
  • n. a swift whirling motion (usually of a missile)
  • v. prolong or extend
  • v. twist and turn so as to give an intended interpretation
  • v. make up a story
  • v. stream in jets, of liquids
  • n. a distinctive interpretation (especially as used by politicians to sway public opinion)
  • n. a short drive in a car
  • n. rapid descent of an aircraft in a steep spiral

Etymologies

Middle English spinnen, from Old English spinnan; see (s)pen- in Indo-European roots.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
From Old English spinnan. (Wiktionary)

Examples

  • The term 'spin off' suggests the relationship between News Corp and Sky News will be minimal, like that between Cheers and Frasier - although, since News Corp will still retain exactly the same percentage of shares in Sky News, it'll be more like if Frasier was set in Boston.

    James Moran: News Corp: A Good Empire

  • He turned the can with his fingers and absently watched the label spin around.

    Loving the Highlander

  • Before we begin, I'd like to define the term spin off.

  • Can I ask, you guys think maybe the term spin comes from because you roll your eyes when you hear it?

    CNN Transcript Feb 10, 2008

  • I guess that's why the term "spin" is used to describe it, eh?

    msnbc.com: Top msnbc.com headlines

  • Austerity is just another word spin that means "we spent too much and now have to tighten the belt or go bankrupt."

    The Full Feed from HuffingtonPost.com

  • In public relations, the term spin generally "signifies a heavily biased portrayal."

    Forbes.com: News

  • Sometimes I feel as if their spin is a slap in the face because I can see through their one side position, wonder how dumb they are, or assume that we are.

    Networks respond to false Fox ad

  • I was stunned to learn that Jobs, a natural master if ever there was one, had not heard of the word "spin," which had famously emerged in the 1984 presidential campaign.

    William Bradley: Steve Jobs: Hardly a Perfect Person, Perhaps a Perfect Icon

  • Amongst hundreds of other young people who watched intently and strong reactions to clearly express their opinions of what they called the spin zone.

    CNN Transcript Oct 16, 2008

Wordnik is becoming a not-for-profit! Read our announcement here.

Comments

Log in or sign up to get involved in the conversation. It's quick and easy.

  • I like looking at what lists a word is listed in and the context it takes upon itself within each list.. this is one of those words.

    this function was adopted by wordnik.com from the old wordie.org site.

    October 8, 2010

  • But oh, those yummy sticky rolls, served in little baskets, and that prune spin with maraschino cherries in it!
    —Dorothy Parker, 'The Bolt behind the Blue'

    'Prune spin' seems to be unknown apart from this Parker reference.

    November 12, 2008

  • In house officer slang, means to send a patient for spiral CT, most often used to look for evidence of a pulmonary embolism.

    January 19, 2008

  • Nips in reverse.

    July 22, 2007