Skein: A mystery word! "O. Fr. escagne, of uncertain origin." Well, somebody must know, though it seems to have survived solely as a (fairly widespread) surname with no meaning attached.
The synonyms below are wonderful, building to a crescendo of hopeless confusion and multiplicity.
It is noteworthy that skein suggests confusion and entanglement, while "clue" comes from a ball of yarn that can lead someone through and out of confusion into clear knowledge and certainty. It's true that in the weaving or knitting process, one turns the skeins into balls of yarn (using a swift, another one of those marvelous words, or a little girl with arms held perpendicular to the floor, about a 16 inches apart, or the back of a chair), which then enables one to move forward into the next configuration: casting warp on the warping board or casting stitches on the knitting needles. But the two forms, skein and ball, don't really look so different, especially as most skeins I buy have already been looped and ordered in some kind of loose way, like those two snuggly littermates I got the other day (and why didn't I get a sensible color like black which I really know I can use?)
Skin, on the other hand, goes on and on, but in a somewhat confused way. However, this morsel–Ir. scainim "I tear, I burst"–is just what I'm looking for. No skin without being skinned. No surface without scarring. No border without transgression. Bursting out of your skin comes along with having skin.
-a length of wool or thread loosely wound into the shape of a ring
-a large group of wild birds such as geese
Etymology+Origin of skein (noun)
c.1440, from M.Fr. escaigne "a hank of yarn," from O.Fr. escagne (1354), of uncertain origin.
Synonyms for skein (noun)
jungle * , muddle , snag , labyrinth , coil , mat , jam * , thread , entanglement , mess * , mix-up , web , snarl , series , morass , strand , rummage , sequence , tangle , flock , twist , knot , maze , cat's cradle , mass , complication , mesh
3 entries found adjective | noun | verb |
Etymology+Origin of skin (adjective)
c.1200, "animal hide" (usually dressed and tanned), from O.N. skinn "animal hide," from P.Gmc. *skintha- (cf. O.H.G. scinten, Ger. schinden "to flay, skin;" Ger. dial. schind "skin of a fruit," Flem. schinde "bark"), from PIE *sken- "cut off" (cf. Bret. scant "scale of a fish," Ir. scainim "I tear, I burst"), from base *sek- "cut." Replaced native hide; the modern technical distinction between the two words is based on the size of the animal. Meaning "epidermis of a living animal or person" is attested from 1340; extended to fruits, vegetables, etc. 1398. ~123~"Ful of fleissche Y was to fele, Now ... Me is lefte But skyn & boon." [hymn, c.1430]~123~Jazz slang sense of "drum" is from 1927. As an adj., it formerly had a slang sense of "cheating" (1868); sense of "pornographic" is attested from 1968. The verb is attested from 1392, from the noun. Skin-tight is from 1885; skin deep is first attested 1613 in this:~123~"All the carnall beauty of my wife, Is but skin-deep." [Sir Thomas Overbury, "A Wife," 1613; the poem was a main motive for his murder]~123~
Synonyms for skin (adjective)
starkers , unclad , nude
Definition skin (noun)
outer covering, especially of animate being
Notes to skin (noun)
Synonyms for skin (noun)
membrane , crust , case , jacket , fell , bark , surface , coating , casing , leather , slough , rind , exterior , husk , parchment , envelope , hide , bill , dermis , carapace , shell , sheath , complexion , derma , integument , outside , tegument , epidermis , sheathing , peel , fur , coat , cutis , shuck , vellum , film , pelt , chamois , hull
Definition skin (verb)
-the natural outer layer which covers a person, animal, fruit, etc.
Examples for skin
-Babies have soft skins.
-Native Americans used to trade skins (= the skins of animals that have been removed from the body, with or without the hair).
-a banana/potato skin
-The bullet pierced the skin of the aircraft.
-Many electronic devices let you create your own skins.
-We had no umbrellas so we got soaked to the skin in the pouring rain.
-I don't worry about what he says - I have a very thick skin.
-I've got an old sheepskin coat.
Synonyms for skin (verb)
remove , knock , bare , abrade , scalp , decorticate , bark , strip , criticize , husk , shave , thwart , scale , denounce , exuviate , rap , scrape , condemn , gall , cut up , unclothe , cut off , undo , cast , shed , peel , blame , flay , pull off , cheat , rip off , defeat , exploit , lay bare , hull , maul , chafe , disarm , excoriate , shuck , pare , rind , deceive , trim , slough , graze