thread made of natural or synthetic fibers and used for knitting and weaving.
a continuous strand or thread made from glass, metal, plastic, etc.
the thread, in the form of a loosely twisted aggregate of fibers, as of hemp, of which rope is made (rope yarn)
a tale, especially a long story of adventure or incredible happenings: He spun a yarn that outdid any I had ever heard.
verb (used without object)
Informal. to spin a yarn; tell stories.

before 1000; Middle English; Old English gearn; cognate with German Garn; akin to Old Norse gǫrn gut, Greek chordḗ intestine, chord1, Lithuanian žarnà entrails, Latin hernia a rupture, Sanskrit hirā vein

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Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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World English Dictionary
yarn (jɑːn)
1.  a continuous twisted strand of natural or synthetic fibres, used in weaving, knitting, etc
2.  informal a long and often involved story or account, usually telling of incredible or fantastic events
3.  informal spin a yarn
 a.  to tell such a story
 b.  to make up or relate a series of excuses
4.  (intr) to tell such a story or stories
[Old English gearn; related to Old High German garn yarn, Old Norse görn gut, Greek khordē string, gut]

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
2009 © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009
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Word Origin & History

O.E. gearn "spun fiber," from P.Gmc. *garnan (cf. O.N., O.H.G., Ger. garn, M.Du. gaern, Du. garen "yarn"), from PIE base *gher- "intestine" (cf. O.N. gorn "gut," Skt. hira "vein," Gk. khorde "intestine, gut-string," Lith. zarna "gut"). The phrase to spin a yarn "to tell a story" is first attested 1812,
from a sailors' expression, on notion of telling stories while engaged in sedentary work like yarn-twisting.
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Bible Dictionary

Yarn definition

Found only in 1 Kings 10:28, 2 Chr. 1:16. The Heb. word mikveh, i.e., "a stringing together," so rendered, rather signifies a host, or company, or a string of horses. The Authorized Version has: "And Solomon had horses brought out of Egypt, and linen yarn: the king's merchants received the linen yarn at a price;" but the Revised Version correctly renders: "And the horses which Solomon had were brought out of Egypt; the king's merchants received them in droves, each drove at a price."

Easton's 1897 Bible Dictionary
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American Heritage
Idioms & Phrases


see spin a yarn.

The American Heritage® Dictionary of Idioms by Christine Ammer.
Copyright © 1997. Published by Houghton Mifflin.
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Example sentences
If you're allergic to cats, don't even think about wearing mohair, the fuzzy
  yarn made from the silky hair of angora goats.
If your relaxing activity of choice is knitting, do not choose yarn that sheds.
Some are made of fine wool while others are composed of homespun yarn.
In her spare time, she tries not to let her yarn habit get out of control.
Idioms & Phrases
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