from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition.

  • intransitive verb To rotate rapidly; whirl. synonym: turn.
  • intransitive verb To have a sensation of whirling, as from dizziness; reel.
  • intransitive verb To make thread or yarn by drawing out and twisting fibers.
  • intransitive verb To extrude viscous filaments, forming a web or cocoon.
  • intransitive verb To fish with a light rod, lure, and line and a reel with a stationary spool.
  • intransitive verb To cause to rotate swiftly; twirl.
  • intransitive verb To shape or manufacture by a twirling or rotating process.
  • intransitive verb Informal To play (a recorded piece of music, such as a phonograph record), especially as a disc jockey.
  • intransitive verb To provide an interpretation of (a statement or event, for example), especially in a way meant to sway public opinion.
  • intransitive verb To draw out and twist (fibers) into thread.
  • intransitive verb To form (thread or yarn) in this manner.
  • intransitive verb To form (a web or cocoon, for example) by extruding viscous filaments.
  • intransitive verb To relate or create.
  • noun The act of spinning.
  • noun A swift whirling motion.
  • noun A state of mental confusion.
  • noun Informal A short drive in a vehicle.
  • noun The flight condition of an aircraft in a nose-down, spiraling, stalled descent.
  • noun A distinctive point of view, emphasis, or interpretation.
  • noun A distinctive character or style.
  • noun The angular momentum of rotation of a rigid body about its own axis.
  • noun The intrinsic angular momentum of a subatomic particle.
  • idiom (spin (one's) wheels) To expend effort with no result.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • noun A rapid revolving or whirling motion, as that of a top on its axis; a rapid twirl: as, to give a coin a spin.
  • noun 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.
  • noun 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.
  • noun An abbreviation of spinster.
  • 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.
  • noun 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.
  • noun In cricket, a twist or rotation imparted to the ball by the bowler.


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

[Middle English spinnen, to twist fiber into thread, from Old English spinnan; see (s)pen- in Indo-European roots.]

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

From Old English spinnan.


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  • Nips in reverse.

    July 22, 2007

  • 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

  • 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

  • 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 from the old site.

    October 8, 2010