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A basket of yarn (twisted fiber)


From Middle English yarn, from the Old English ġearn (yarn, spun wool), from Proto-Germanic *garną (yarn), from Proto-Indo-European *ǵʰorn-, *ǵʰer- (tharm, guts, intestines). Akin to West Frisian jern, Dutch garen (yarn), German Garn (yarn), Danish garn, Swedish garn (yarn, thread), Icelandic garn (yarn), Latin hernia (rupture), Ancient Greek χορδή (khordḗ, string), Sanskrit हिर (hira, band). Compare also the obsolete doublet garn.



yarn (countable and uncountable, plural yarns)

  1. (uncountable) A twisted strand of fiber used for knitting or weaving.
  2. (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.
  3. (countable) A story, a tale, especially one that is incredible.
    • 1913, Joseph C. Lincoln, chapter 4, in Mr. Pratt's Patients:
      I told him about everything I could think of; and what I couldn't think of he did. He asked about six questions during my yarn, but every question had a point to it. At the end he bowed and thanked me once more. As a thanker he was main-truck high; I never see anybody so polite.


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yarn (third-person singular simple present yarns, present participle yarning, simple past and past participle yarned)

  1. To tell a story or stories.
    • 1942, Neville Shute, Pied Piper, New York: William Morrow & Co., Chapter 7,[1]
      They had stayed in some little pension and had gone for little, bored walks while the colonel went out in the boats with the fisherman, or sat yarning with them in the café.

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