v. spun (spŭn), spin·ning, spins
1. To rotate rapidly; whirl. See Synonyms at turn.
2. To have a sensation of whirling, as from dizziness; reel: My head spun after I did a cartwheel.
3. To make thread or yarn by drawing out and twisting fibers.
4. To extrude viscous filaments, forming a web or cocoon.
5. To fish with a light rod, lure, and line and a reel with a stationary spool.
1. To cause to rotate swiftly; twirl: spin a top.
2. To shape or manufacture by a twirling or rotating process.
3. Informal To play (a recorded piece of music, such as a phonograph record), especially as a disc jockey.
4. To provide an interpretation of (a statement or event, for example), especially in a way meant to sway public opinion: "a messenger who spins bogus research into a vile theology of hatred" (William A. Henry III).
a. To draw out and twist (fibers) into thread.
b. To form (thread or yarn) in this manner.
6. To form (a web or cocoon, for example) by extruding viscous filaments.
7. To relate or create: spin a story.
1. The act of spinning.
2. A swift whirling motion.
3. A state of mental confusion: I've been in a spin about this all week.
4. Informal A short drive in a vehicle: took a spin in the new car.
5. The flight condition of an aircraft in a nose-down, spiraling, stalled descent.
a. A distinctive point of view, emphasis, or interpretation: "adept at putting spin on an apparently neutral recital of facts" (Robert M. Adams).
b. A distinctive character or style: an innovative chef who puts a new spin on traditional fare.
a. The angular momentum of rotation of a rigid body about its own axis.
b. The intrinsic angular momentum of a subatomic particle. Also called spin angular momentum.
To derive (a company or product, for example) from something larger.
1. To rotate out of control, as a skidding car leaving a roadway.
2. To prolong or extend: spin out a visit with an old friend.
spin (one's) wheels Informal
To expend effort with no result.
[Middle English spinnen, to twist fiber into thread, from Old English spinnan; see (s)pen- in the Appendix of Indo-European roots.]
The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2020 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
Indo-European & Semitic Roots Appendices
Thousands of entries in the dictionary include etymologies that trace their origins back to reconstructed proto-languages. You can obtain more information about these forms in our online appendices:
The Indo-European appendix covers nearly half of the Indo-European roots that have left their mark on English words. A more complete treatment of Indo-European roots and the English words derived from them is available in our Dictionary of Indo-European Roots.