Check out new words added to


[thred-bair] /ˈθrɛdˌbɛər/
having the nap worn off so as to lay bare the threads of the warp and woof, as a fabric, garment, etc.
wearing threadbare clothes; shabby or poor:
a threadbare old man.
meager, scanty, or poor:
a threadbare emotional life.
hackneyed; trite; ineffectively stale:
threadbare arguments.
Origin of threadbare
1325-75; Middle English thredbare. See thread, bare1
Related forms
threadbareness, noun Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
Cite This Source
Examples from the web for threadbare
  • In the unlimited leisure of the wilderness, discussion had been worn threadbare.
  • Brand-new threadbare jeans were given an instant history and then sold for three figures.
  • Curiously enough it was this threadbare résumé that got me on so many shortlists.
  • Meanwhile, an already threadbare safety net keeps thinning.
  • It's more threadbare than the first rope and covered with slime.
  • Four poles were lodged at the four corners, and a musty, threadbare cloth was mounted as a cover.
  • Dangerous predators are a precious rarity on this mangled and threadbare little planet.
  • The rugs, threadbare in places, have not been replaced.
  • Maybe, but these labels are looking a little threadbare.
  • Epic has been used to the extent of threadbare and gross this year.
British Dictionary definitions for threadbare


(of cloth, clothing, etc) having the nap worn off so that the threads are exposed
meagre or poor: a threadbare existence
hackneyed: a threadbare argument
wearing threadbare clothes; shabby
Derived Forms
threadbareness, noun
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 threadbare

mid-14c., from thread (n.) + bare. The notion is of "having the nap worn off," leaving bare the threads.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
Cite This Source

Word of the Day

Difficulty index for threadbare

Some English speakers likely know this word

Word Value for threadbare

Scrabble Words With Friends

Quotes with threadbare

Nearby words for threadbare