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Related to lose the thread: lose the plot, lost thread

THREAD. A figurative expression used to signify the central line of a stream or water course. Harg. Tracts, 5; 4 Mason's Rep. 397; Holt's R. 490. Vide Filum aguae; Island; Water course; River.

A Law Dictionary, Adapted to the Constitution and Laws of the United States. By John Bouvier. Published 1856.
References in periodicals archive ?
There are instances where the flow of the text jumps about chronologically or veers off at a tangent, causing the reader to lose the thread. These shortcomings may be explained by Thuillier's illness and death which occurred in the final stages of editing and production.
"Reading Book of Numbers is like trying to concentrate on an online article that keeps being interrupted by flashing ads, exhortations to click below the jump--and then the Web browser freezes or you lose the thread because you're distracted by a video about the touching rescue of a horribly abused pit bull....
When in London I heard a lot of it used in real time and you had to think fast to work out what was being said or lose the thread altogether.
Useful, perceptive observations would begin to come into focus, but by the end of the paragraph I would lose the thread and, eventually, interest.
After the latest twist - a goateed "trans-clone" - I may be starting to lose the thread.
Predictably, Watford gained confidence from the goal and Blues tended to lose the thread of things a little.
"But after the crash I realised I couldn't multi-skill any more and I would easily lose the thread of what I was doing.
BZRK is a novel for the determined reader for it is a multi-planed matrix in which it is easy to lose the thread of the plot; the action swings between the prosaic world of computer geeks and the painstakingly detailed, ultra-microscopic battlefields in which they unleash 'nanobots' and 'blots'.
On a more primeval level, the sounds of Flamenco music will have an instant effect on me, causing me to lose the thread of any conversation I am having to concentrate on the hypnotic rhythm of the guitar.