Skein vs scan

Skein and scan are two words that are sometimes confused. We will look at the definitions of the words skein and scan, where these words came from and some examples of their use in sentences.

A skein is a length of yarn or thread that is loosely wound in a coil. A skein is a method of wrapping yarn or thread, and may be of varying lengths depending on the type of material used and how thick it is. The word skein is derived from the Middle French word escaigne, which means a hank of yarn. Skein most often refers to a coil of yarn, though it may also be used figuratively to mean an element belonging to a more complicated whole. Skein also refers to a a flock of wild birds flying in a V-formation.

Scan may mean 1.) to look over something carefully in order to observe a particular feature 2.) to quickly look over text in order to pick out the most important ideas 3.) to cross the surface of something with an electronic beam or a light 4.) to convert an image or text into digital information 5.) to analyze the metre of a poem. Scan may be used as a noun or a verb, related words are scans, scanned, scanning, scanner. The word scan is derived from the Latin word scandere, meaning to climb or to mount, and later meaning to analyze the metre of a poem.


My winter project is combining the leftover skeins and making 50-by-6-inch scarves with multicolored tassels on each end and donating them to a local food pantry. (The Santa Maria Times)

“I watched in amazement as skein after skein of these stunning geese flew in during 65 minutes,” exclaimed Scott Baldinger, a veteran birder. (The Times Herald-Record)

Tokyo Electric Power Co. said Thursday it had performed a sophisticated scan of the plant’s No. 1 reactor core, giving the most detailed picture so far of what is going on in the high-radiation environment. (The Japan Times)

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