Definition of heddle in English:



  • A looped wire or cord with an eye in the centre through which a warp yarn is passed in a loom before going through the reed to control its movement and divide the threads.

    • ‘He explains the complex task of laying out the long warp and threading the heddles.’
    • ‘Adding heddles to the loom was like adding drums to the dance.’
    • ‘A single heddle makes a weave known as ‘tabby’, and by the use of several heddles quite complicated ‘twills’ and ‘herringbone’ patterns could be woven.’
    • ‘A smaller variation of the belt-weaving loom, equipped with eight sets of heddles, is used to weave the silk headband worn at marriage by the women.’
    • ‘Looms of this type are so named because they are fitted with a number of supplementary heddles that would be ‘drawn up’ by one or more assistants to the weaver.’


Early 16th century apparently from an alteration of Old English hefeld (see heald).