AskDefine | Define skein

Dictionary Definition

skein n : coils of worsted yarn

User Contributed Dictionary



skeyne, escaigne, écagne, probably of Celtic origin



  1. A quantity of yarn, thread, or the like, put up together, after it is taken from the reel. A skein of cotton yarn is formed by eighty turns of the thread round a fifty-four inch reel.
  2. italbrac-colon Wagon Making A metallic strengthening band or thimble on the wooden arm of an axle.
  3. A group of wild fowl, (e.g. geese, goslings) when they are in flight.


See also





  1. (kvæði) scratch, small wound

Related terms


Verb form

  1. shone, singular past tense form of skína (to shine)

Extensive Definition

Skein may refer to:
  • A long coil of yarn or hair intended for weaving, dyeing, or heat setting. Yarn sold in skeins often needs to be re-wound into spools or balls using a swift depending on the application. A skein is not a specific unit of length.
  • The flight of a flock of undomesticated fowl such as wild mallards or wild geese
  • Skein relation, a mathematical concept often used to give a simple definition of knot polynomials
  • A winning streak in sports

In popular culture

Synonyms, Antonyms and Related Words

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