A lot vs. Alot: 9 Grammatical Pitfalls


[skeyn] /skeɪn/
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.
late Middle English
1400-50; late Middle English skeyne, skayne < Middle French escaigne < ? Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
Cite This Source
Examples from the web for skeins
  • skeins of dancers advance across the stage in surging processionals, separating into changeable groups and pockets of stillness.
  • The divers swim along the bottom and count yellow perch egg skeins.
  • Feels skeins for firmness and texture to determine effect of brine on skeins.
  • Imagine hair that sprouts in skeins from once withered follicles.
  • The performers made clear the quick, odd rhythmic shifts in seamless skeins of dance and music.
  • The vats contained hot water and chemicals into which the skeins of silk thread were dipped.
  • It is available as raw fleece and skeins of yarn in a variety of colors throughout the year.
  • Natural or synthetic threads are received in skeins from outside sources.
  • At twenty they began to braid it into skeins cut off square at the bottom.
  • The floss silk typified gentle but enduring constancy, the strength of its skeins contrasting with their softness and flexibility.
British Dictionary definitions for skeins


a length of yarn, etc, wound in a long coil
something resembling this, such as a lock of hair
a flock of geese flying Compare gaggle (sense 2)
Word Origin
C15: from Old French escaigne, of unknown origin
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
Cite This Source
Word Origin and History for skeins



"fixed quantity of yarn doubled over and over and knotted, mid-15c., from Middle French escaigne "a hank of yarn" (Old French escagne, mid-14c., Modern French écagne), of uncertain origin. Cf. Medieval Latin scagna "a skein," Irish sgainne "a skein, clue."

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
Cite This Source

Word of the Day

Difficulty index for skein

Most English speakers likely know this word

Word Value for skeins

Scrabble Words With Friends

Nearby words for skeins