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skein

[skeyn] /skeɪn/
noun
1.
a length of yarn or thread wound on a reel or swift preparatory for use in manufacturing.
2.
anything wound in or resembling such a coil:
a skein of hair.
3.
something suggestive of the twistings of a skein:
an incoherent skein of words.
4.
a flock of geese, ducks, or the like, in flight.
5.
a succession or series of similar or interrelated things:
a skein of tennis victories.
Origin
late Middle English
1400-1450
1400-50; late Middle English skeyne, skayne < Middle French escaigne < ?
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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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

skein

/skeɪn/
noun
1.
a length of yarn, etc, wound in a long coil
2.
something resembling this, such as a lock of hair
3.
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
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Word Origin and History for skeins

skein

n.

"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
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10
11
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