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A basket of yarn (twisted fiber)


From Middle English yarne, ȝern, yarn, from the Old English ġearn (yarn, spun wool), from Proto-West Germanic *garn, from Proto-Germanic *garną (yarn), from Proto-Indo-European *ǵʰorn-, *ǵʰer- (tharm, guts, intestines).



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[rosby] Lincoln, chapter IV, in Mr. Pratt’s Patients, New York, N.Y., London: D[aniel] Appleton and Company, →OCLC:
      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.
    • 1930, Norman Lindsay, Redheap, Sydney, N.S.W.: Ure Smith, published 1965, →OCLC, page 218:
      "I'm hanged if I know how you've got the immortal rind to come at me with a yarn like this."
    • 2018 September 15, Julius Taranto, “On Outgrowing David Foster Wallace”, in Los Angeles Review of Books[1]:
      Statistically, this person is also likely to be male and well off, but more essentially this person wants to be educated, to be obsessed, wants more than just a good yarn.



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

  1. (intransitive) To tell a story or stories, especially one that is lengthy or unlikely to be true.
    • 1897, Rudyard Kipling, Captains Courageous:
      "He yarns good," said Tom Platt. "T'other night he told us abaout a kid of his own size steerin' a cunnin' little rig an' four ponies up an' down Toledo, Ohio, I think 'twas, an' givin' suppers to a crowd o' sim'lar kids. Cur'us kind o' fairy-tale, but blame interestin'. He knows scores of 'em."
    • 1935, Christopher Isherwood, Mr Norris Changes Trains (U.S. title: The Last of Mr Norris), Chapter Thirteen, in The Berlin Stories, New York: New Directions, 1963, p. 152,[2]
      “Well, well!” exclaimed Mr. van Hoorn. “Here are the boys! As hungry as hunters, I’ll be bound! And we two old fogies have been wasting the whole afternoon yarning away indoors. My goodness, is it as late as that? I say, I want my tea!”
    • 1942, Neville Shute, chapter 7, in Pied Piper[3], New York: William Morrow & Co:
      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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Middle English[edit]

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From Old English ġearn, from Proto-West Germanic *garn, from Proto-Germanic *garną. Doublet of garn.


  • IPA(key): /ˈjarn/, /ˈjɛːrn/, /ˈjɛrn/


yarn (uncountable)

  1. Yarn; a length of fibre used to weave.
    Synonym: garn


  • English: yarn
  • Scots: yairn





yarn (Baybayin spelling ᜌᜇ᜔ᜈ᜔) (slang, humorous)

  1. Informal form of iyan.
    Galit yarn?
    Thaz angry?