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thread +‎ bare


  • IPA(key): /ˈθɹɛdbɛə(ɹ)/
    • (file)


threadbare (comparative more threadbare, superlative most threadbare)

  1. (of cloth) shabby, frayed and worn to an extent that warp threads show
    • 1857, Charles Dickens, Little Dorrit, Book 1, Chapter 9
      Such threadbare coats and trousers, such fusty gowns and shawls, such squashed hats and bonnets, such boots and shoes, such umbrellas and walking-sticks, never were seen in Rag Fair.
    • 2014, Paul Salopek, Blessed. Cursed. Claimed., National Geographic (December 2014)[1]
      Unkempt, in threadbare clothes, with holed shoes and sun-cured hide, my costume is permanent: the traveler, the man from far away.
  2. damaged or shabby
    • 1858–1865, Thomas Carlyle, History of Friedrich II. of Prussia, Called Frederick the Great, volume (please specify |volume=I to VI), London: Chapman and Hall, [], OCLC 156109991:
      Holy Virgin stood in the main Convent of Glatz, in rather a threadbare condition, when the Prussians first approached; the Jesuits, and ardently Orthodox of both sexes, flagitating Heaven and her with their prayers, that she would vouchsafe to keep the Prussians out.
  3. (of a person) wearing clothes of threadbare material
  4. banal or clichéd; trite or hackneyed
    • 2012 August 21, Jason Heller, “The Darkness: Hot Cakes (Music Review)”, in The Onion AV Club[2]:
      But with so many tired, lazy callbacks to its own threadbare catalog (including “Love Is Not The Answer,” a watery echo of the epic “I Believe In A Thing Called Love” from 2003’s Permission To Land), Hot Cakes marks the point where The Darkness has stopped cannibalizing the golden age of stadium rock and simply started cannibalizing itself.