Etymology: Middle English thred, from Old English thrǣd; akin to Old High German drāt wire, Old English thrāwan to cause to twist or turn — more at throw
Date: before 12th century
a. a filament, a group of filaments twisted together, or a filamentous length formed by spinning and twisting short textile fibers into a continuous strand
b. a piece of thread
a. any of various natural filaments <the threads of a spiderweb> b. a slender stream (as of water) c. a projecting helical rib (as in a fitting or on a pipe) by which parts can be screwed together ; screw thread 3. something continuous or drawn out: as a. a line of reasoning or train of thought that connects the parts in a sequence (as of ideas or events) <lost the thread of the story> b. a continuing element <a thread of melancholy marked all his writing> c. a series of newsgroup messages following a single topic 4. a tenuous or feeble support <hung on by a thread> 5. plural clothing • threadless adjective • threadlike adjective II. verb Date: 14th century transitive verb 1. a. to pass a thread through the eye of (a needle) b. to arrange a thread, yarn, or lead-in piece in working position for use in (a machine) 2. a. (1) to pass something through in the manner of a thread <thread a pipe with wire> (2) to pass (as a tape, line, or film) into or through something <threaded a fresh roll of film into the camera> b. to make one's way through or between <threading narrow alleys>; also to make one's way usually cautiously through a hazardous situation 3. to put together on or as if on a thread ; string <thread beads> 4. to interweave with or as if with threads ; intersperse <dark hair threaded with silver> 5. to form a screw thread on or in intransitive verb 1. weave 2 <the car threaded through traffic> 2. to form a thread • threader noun
New Collegiate Dictionary. 2001.