Definition of threadbare in English:



  • 1(of cloth, clothing, or soft furnishings) becoming thin and tattered with age.

    ‘tatty rooms with threadbare carpets’
    • ‘The bed had a thick straw pallet for mattress, and the sheets were threadbare and grubby, but they had slept on worse.’
    • ‘It has high filigreed ceilings and threadbare carpet, a winding native wood staircase, cracked stained glass.’
    • ‘Christian conservatism and hysterical anti-communism formed the parties' threadbare ideological framework and served to counterbalance various interests.’
    • ‘The tables were chipped, the carpet is threadbare, the seats have lost all their padding and comfort.’
    • ‘The threadbare carpets were covered by cheap rugs.’
    • ‘He was issued with a thin mat and a threadbare blanket and taken to the cell block.’
    • ‘The grey carpets were threadbare and the furniture was falling apart.’
    • ‘Surprisingly, it is a greatly-crafted piece, but due to the formula being recycled continuously since its original appearance, the messages are now somewhat threadbare, causing the play to lose its potency.’
    • ‘I had two dresses, one nightgown, three pair of undergarments and a thin, threadbare cloak.’
    • ‘Much more needs to be done if the already rickety and threadbare credibility of the Church is ever going to be restored.’
    • ‘The wind was bitter against his bare legs and feet, and it tore straight through his threadbare clothing.’
    • ‘He frequently appeared in a threadbare and ragged cloak.’
    • ‘The bedding was threadbare, but freshly laundered and the floor appeared to have been fitted with a new carpet.’
    • ‘The cap is certainly too threadbare to be a public appearance prop.’
    • ‘She wrapped her inadequate, threadbare cape more securely around herself and pulled the hood down a little more to keep out the biting wind.’
    • ‘Underneath were pictures of dockers' children in threadbare clothes.’
    • ‘Their great old houses overflow with rough medieval furniture, threadbare tapestries and religious relics worn smooth by the touch of generations.’
    • ‘She stopped, then slowly walked over to stand in the middle of the large, round room, looking down at the threadbare rug.’
    • ‘But his eyes were still bright, and his threadbare old khaki police uniform shirt still bore his many medals.’
    • ‘Both our little beds are a mishmash of sheets and blankets and threadbare pillows and the floor is covered in our old sports trophies and other such junk.’
    worn, well worn, old, thin, worn out, holey, moth-eaten, mangy, ragged, frayed, tattered, battered
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1(of a person, building, or room) poor or shabby in appearance.
      ‘we huddle round a cassette deck in a threadbare rehearsal room’
      • ‘My room is pretty threadbare right now, but Rebecca promised that tomorrow we will go buy furniture for me.’
      • ‘Sorry, but even in summer it feels a bit chilly there, like a threadbare university club that only charter members find cozy.’
      • ‘Once healthy, rich and famous, he now lives in a threadbare apartment, forced to sell his sporting trophies to feed his drug habit.’
      • ‘Raised in Cardonald, Glasgow, Mullan and his seven siblings were working class misfits in a grand but threadbare rented house.’
      • ‘There is nothing grim or threadbare about either the building nor the attitude.’
      • ‘You can rent rustic cabins with great views; while some are a bit threadbare, they are all charming.’
      • ‘His friends treated his threadbare bachelor apartment as a virtual drop-in centre.’
      • ‘As I raced back to the threadbare offices, where we tapped out stories on half-sheets of paper hunched over manual typewriters, my adrenaline was pumping.’
      • ‘The film is set in a threadbare Australian ski resort at the fag-end of winter, well past the postcard stage.’
      • ‘But the room wasn't sad and threadbare, it was full of people.’
      • ‘Bangkok has dozens of rather dreary, threadbare hotels in the £10 - £30 range, while below and above that you can really get good value.’
    2. 1.2(of an argument, excuse, idea, etc.) used so often that it is no longer effective.
      ‘the song was a tissue of threadbare clichés’
      • ‘The clever, jazz-tinged arrangement of New Bond Street makes up for its threadbare lyrics.’
      • ‘The credibility of two of the leading actors of American monetary policy today is somewhat threadbare, to say the least.’
      • ‘Unfortunately, the Cole royal commission may also end up the perfect mechanism for destroying the already threadbare authority of royal commissions.’
      • ‘Devoid of Shane Julian and with Paul McDonald placed at midfield their defence was threadbare.’
      • ‘But on close inspection the Brown plans look pretty threadbare anyway.’
      • ‘I have spoken to three QCs involved in the hearings, and one has stated that he found some key pieces of evidence threadbare of credibility.’
      • ‘Hanford Burr's "Around the Fire" stories never grow old or threadbare.’
      • ‘The allegations against Wahid were always threadbare pretexts for his removal from office.’
      • ‘Initially, capitalist market conditions were introduced into Russia under a somewhat threadbare banner of " democracy ".’
      • ‘At some point, though, the formula began to grow threadbare.’
      • ‘The language of artistic value has become threadbare.’
      • ‘There is little a performer can do with such threadbare material.’
      • ‘The democratic pretences of the opposition have always been threadbare.’
      • ‘Sometimes this tale of interrupted promise swung on pitifully threadbare evidence.’
      • ‘The pose of disbelief is all the more threadbare given the facts on the ground in Iraq after more than three months of US military occupation.’
      • ‘In the scramble to balance the books, the already threadbare provision for non-critical cases could be stripped away.’
      • ‘In promoting these illusions, Mr Latham is accepting the threadbare propaganda of the neo-liberal social agenda.’
      • ‘Previous claims that the restoration of capitalism in the former USSR would bring democracy in its wake now look increasingly threadbare.’
      • ‘His threadbare case further exposed the shabby deal.’
      • ‘What we're left with is a threadbare story and a child who won't stop singing At the top of her voice All the time.’