Roget's 21st Century Thesaurus, Third Edition Copyright © 2013 by the Philip Lief Group.


By response to response we spin round a friend the age-web which lengthens into the death-web.

They may find they have more tow on their distaff than they know how to spin.

Here I must bide, and talk and sew and spin, and spin and sew and talk.

You'll come down low then, so as you can examine the villages as you spin along.

Miss Priest was no "spin" lingering on in spinsterhood against her will.

She loved to spin, and no spider ever spun so fine a thread as she on her spinning wheel.

To spin yarns for Charley's delectation would have been absurd.

I spin the finest wool of our flocks, and drain the distended udders of our cows.

A top will spin some time in the air because its point is small.

I have considered them, sir; but I'm foiling still and mother has to spin.


Old English spinnan "draw out and twist fibers into thread," from Proto-Germanic *spenwanan (cf. Old Norse and Old Frisian spinna, Danish spinde, Dutch spinnen, Old High German spinnan, German spinnen, Gothic spinnan), from PIE *(s)pen- "stretch" (cf. Armenian henum "I weave;" Greek patos "garment, literally "that which is spun;" Lithuanian pinu "I plait, braid," spandau "I spin;" Middle Welsh cy-ffiniden "spider;" see span (v.)).

Sense of "to cause to turn rapidly" is from 1610s; meaning "revolve, turn around rapidly" first recorded 1660s. Meaning "attempt to influence reporters' minds after an event has taken place but before they have written about it" seems to have risen to popularity in the 1984 U.S. presidential campaign; e.g. spin doctor, first attested 1984. Spinning wheel is attested from c.1400; spinning-jenny is from 1783 (see jenny); invented by James Hargreaves c.1764-7, patented 1770.


Roget's 21st Century Thesaurus, Third Edition Copyright © 2013 by the Philip Lief Group.