spin a yarn

Idioms & Phrases

spin a yarn

Tell a story, especially a long drawn-out or totally fanciful one, as in This author really knows how to spin a yarn, or Whenever he's late he spins some yarn about a crisis. Originally a nautical term dating from about 1800, this expression probably owes its life to the fact that it embodies a double meaning, yarn signifying both "spun fiber" and "a tale."

The American Heritage® Dictionary of Idioms by Christine Ammer.
Copyright © 1997. Published by Houghton Mifflin.
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