a length of yarn or thread wound on a reel or swift preparatory for use in manufacturing.
anything wound in or resembling such a coil: a skein of hair.
something suggestive of the twistings of a skein: an incoherent skein of words.
a flock of geese, ducks, or the like, in flight.
a succession or series of similar or interrelated things: a skein of tennis victories.

1400–50; late Middle English skeyne, skayne < Middle French escaigne < ? Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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World English Dictionary
skein (skeɪn)
1.  a length of yarn, etc, wound in a long coil
2.  something resembling this, such as a lock of hair
3.  Compare gaggle a flock of geese flying
[C15: from Old French escaigne, of unknown origin]

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
2009 © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
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Word Origin & History

c.1440, from M.Fr. escaigne "a hank of yarn," from O.Fr. escagne (1354), of uncertain origin.
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Example sentences
It developed into a skein of small companies that grew into bigger ones.
The areas of higher concern are the skein becks and the drip traps on the distribution system.
Knot invariants are usually defined through the skein relations.
Sometimes skein theories also involve tangled graphs skinning map.
Related Words
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