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

  • noun A continuous strand of twisted threads of natural or synthetic fibers, such as wool or nylon, used in weaving or knitting.
  • noun A similar strand of other materials such as glass or plastic.
  • noun Informal A long, often elaborate narrative of real or fictitious adventures; an entertaining tale.
  • intransitive verb To tell an entertaining tale or series of tales.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • Same as yearn, a dialectal variant of earn.
  • noun Originally, thread of any kind spun from natural fibers, vegetable or animal, or even mineral; now, more usually, thread prepared for weaving, as distinguished from sewing-thread of any sort. The term is also applied to stout woolen thread used for knitting, etc.
  • noun Rope-yarn.
  • noun A story; a tale: often implying the marvelous or untrue: applied to a long story, with allusion to spinning yarn: as, do you expect us to believe such a yarn as that? a sailors' yarn.
  • noun Yarn made from Imperfectly carded stock.
  • To tell stories; spin yarns.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English.

  • noun Spun wool; woolen thread; also, thread of other material, as of cotton, flax, hemp, or silk; material spun and prepared for use in weaving, knitting, manufacturing sewing thread, or the like.
  • noun (Rope Making) One of the threads of which the strands of a rope are composed.
  • noun colloq. A story told by a sailor for the amusement of his companions; a story or tale.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.

  • noun uncountable A twisted strand of fiber used for knitting or weaving.
  • noun nautical Bundles of fibers twisted together, and which in turn are twisted in bundles to form strands, which in their turn are twisted or plaited to form rope.
  • noun countable A story, a tale, especially one that is incredible.
  • verb To tell a story.

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

  • noun a fine cord of twisted fibers (of cotton or silk or wool or nylon etc.) used in sewing and weaving
  • noun the act of giving an account describing incidents or a course of events
  • verb tell or spin a yarn


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

[Middle English, from Old English gearn; see gherə- in Indo-European roots.]

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

From Middle English yarn, from the Old English ġearn ("yarn, spun wool"), from Proto-Germanic *garnan (“yarn”), from Proto-Indo-European *ǵʰorn-, *ǵʰer- (“tharm, guts, intestines”). Akin to Dutch garen ("yarn"), German Garn ("yarn"), Swedish garn ("yarn, thread"), Icelandic garn ("yarn"), Latin hernia ("rupture"), Ancient Greek χορδή (chordḗ, "string"), Sanskrit  (hira, "band").


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  • I think the yarn is a lovely shade that should look good on you.

    Jean's Knitting Jean 2009

  • I don't love pink at all, but even I have to say that this yarn is a very pretty shade of pink.

    April 2005 2005

  • I don't love pink at all, but even I have to say that this yarn is a very pretty shade of pink.

    A Trio of Scarves 2005

  • This yarn is a little harsher than some other sock yarns too, but I liked the colors.

    March 2004 2004

  • This yarn is a little harsher than some other sock yarns too, but I liked the colors.

    Spring mornings 2004

  • This yarn is about several men who were seated around a club lounge room one cold winter evening, with the logs blazing in the fireplace and all that sort of thing and as they sat there and observed the various club members as they came in and hung up their hats and coats and entered the lounge room, they observed that each and every man walked over to the fireplace and invariably turned his back against the fireplace with his hands behind his back.

    International Trade 1934

  • Of course, before I could begin, I had to wind the yarn from a skein into a ball – I love to do this, but have had a difficult time doing it without ending up with tangles or knots at some point.

    Creative Every Day, Part 9 « Looking for Roots 2010

  • Packed what I need for the recycled sari silk wrap currently in progress and the fingering-weight version of this shawl (variegated honey-colored merino), and this headwrap (to use up the leftover yarn from the wrap I finished last week) and this scarf (the variegated purple angora/polwarth I got at the NH sheep & wool festival).

    Thor's Day yendi 2009

  • And the yellow and green yarn is knitting up a poncho for the Little Bird.

    Creative Every Day, Part 13: Oops, I Forgot « Looking for Roots 2010

  • Equipped with new detail on the operations of each individual factory, the company boss might feel more comfortable yielding greater discretion to each factory manager; any drop in production - or mysterious disappearance of yarn from the supply room - would raise red flags at the head office.

    In defense of middle management Ray Fisman 2010


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  • Talk, chat (Belfast)

    "Had an oul' yarn with him last night."

    July 27, 2011