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Etymology 1[edit]

From Middle English warp, werp, from Old English wearp, warp ‎(a warp, threads stretched lengthwise in a loom, twig, osier), from Proto-Germanic *warpaz ‎(a warp), from Proto-Indo-European *werb- ‎(to turn, bend). Cognate with Middle Dutch warp, Middle Low German warp, German Warf, Danish varp, Swedish varp.


warp ‎(plural warps)

  1. (uncountable) The state of being bent or twisted out of shape.
  2. A distortion or twist, such as in a piece of wood.
  3. (weaving) The threads that run lengthwise in a woven fabric; crossed by the woof or weft.
  4. (nautical) A line or cable used in warping a ship.
  5. A theoretical construct that permits travel across a medium without passing through it normally, such as a teleporter or time warp.
  6. The sediment which subsides from turbid water; the alluvial deposit of muddy water artificially introduced into low lands in order to enrich or fertilise them.
  7. (obsolete) A throw; a cast.
  8. (dialectal) About four fish; a cast. Used when counting caught fish.
  9. (dialectal) The young of an animal when brought forth prematurely; a cast lamb, kid, calf, or foal.
Related terms[edit]

Etymology 2[edit]

From Middle English werpen, weorpen, worpen, from Old English weorpan ‎(to throw, cast, cast down, cast away, throw off, throw out, expel, throw upon, throw open, drive away, sprinkle, hit, hand over, lay hands on (a person), cast lots, charge with, accuse of), from Proto-Germanic *werpaną ‎(to throw, turn), from Proto-Indo-European *werb- ‎(to bend, turn). Cognate with Scots warp ‎(to throw, warp), North Frisian werpen ‎(to throw), Dutch werpen ‎(to throw, cast), German werfen ‎(to throw, cast), Icelandic verpa ‎(to throw).


warp ‎(third-person singular simple present warps, present participle warping, simple past and past participle warped)

  1. (transitive, obsolete outside dialects) To throw; cast; toss; hurl; fling.
  2. (transitive, obsolete outside dialects) To utter; ejaculate; enunciate; give utterance to.
  3. (transitive, dialectal) To bring forth (young) prematurely, said of cattle, sheep, horses, etc.
  4. (transitive, dialectal) To cause a person to suddenly come into a particular state; throw.
  5. (transitive, dialectal, of the wind or sea) To toss or throw around; carry along by natural force.
  6. (transitive, intransitive, dialectal, of a door) To throw open; open wide.
  7. (transitive) To twist or turn something out of shape.
    • Coleridge
      The planks looked warped.
    • Tennyson
      Walter warped his mouth at this / To something so mock solemn, that I laughed.
    • 1918, W. B. Maxwell, chapter 16, The Mirror and the Lamp:
      The preposterous altruism too! [] Resist not evil. It is an insane immolation of self—as bad intrinsically as fakirs stabbing themselves or anchorites warping their spines in caves scarcely large enough for a fair-sized dog.
  8. (transitive) To deflect something from a true or proper course.
    • Dryden
      This first avowed, nor folly warped my mind.
    • Addison
      I have no private considerations to warp me in this controversy.
    • Southey
      We are divested of all those passions which cloud the intellects, and warp the understandings, of men.
  9. (intransitive) To become twisted out of shape.
    • William Shakespeare
      One of you will prove a shrunk panel, and, like green timber, warp.
    • Moxon
      They clamp one piece of wood to the end of another, to keep it from casting, or warping.
  10. (intransitive) To go astray or be deflected from a correct course
  11. To affect something wrongly, unfairly or unfavourably; to bias
  12. To arrange strands of thread etc so that they run lengthwise in weaving
  13. (obsolete, rare, poetic) To weave, hence (figuratively) to fabricate; plot.
    • Sternhold
      while doth he mischief warp
    (Can we find and add a quotation of Nares to this entry?)
  14. (nautical) To move a vessel by hauling on a line or cable that is fastened to an anchor or pier; especially to move a sailing ship through a restricted place such as a harbour
    • 1883: Robert Louis Stevenson, Treasure Island
      We had a dreary morning's work before us, for there was no sign of any wind, and the boats had to be got out and manned, and the ship warped three or four miles around the corner of the island. []
  15. (intransitive, nautical) (for a ship) To be moved by warping.
  16. (intransitive) To fly with a bending or waving motion, like a flock of birds or insects.
    • John Milton
      A pitchy cloud / Of locusts, warping on the eastern wind.
  17. (agriculture) To let the tide or other water in upon (low-lying land), for the purpose of fertilization, by a deposit of warp, or slimy substance.
  18. (ropemaking) To run off the reel into hauls to be tarred, as yarns.
  19. (intransitive) To travel across a medium without passing through it normally, as by using a teleporter or time warp.

External links[edit]

  • warp at OneLook Dictionary Search
  • warp in The Century Dictionary, The Century Co., New York, 1911