Definition of thrash in English:

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Pronunciation: /THraSH/


[with object]
1Beat (a person or animal) repeatedly and violently with a stick or whip: she thrashed him across the head and shoulders (as noun thrashing) what he needs is a good thrashing
More example sentences
  • His future father-in-law came round to dinner one evening and attempted to thrash him with a horsewhip.
  • Once home, his father, a freedom fighter, thrashed him mercilessly.
  • She would beat her until her arm was tired and then thrash her on the floor.
hit, beat, strike, batter, thump, hammer, pound, rain blows on;
assault, attack;
cudgel, club
informal wallop, belt, bash, whup, whack, thwack, clout, clobber, pummel, slug, tan, sock, beat the (living) daylights out of
1.1Hit (something) hard and repeatedly: the wind screeched and the mast thrashed the deck
More example sentences
  • Those famous feet thrash the water so hard, the men that trail him say it is like being immersed in a washing machine.
  • Is it better to be an isolated, depressed Western nuclear family housewife whose washing machine has a five year guarantee or an Indian woman who thrashes her washing on boulders in the river in the company of other women?
1.2 [no object] Move in a violent and convulsive way: he lay on the ground thrashing around in pain [with object]: she thrashed her arms, attempting to swim
More example sentences
  • A few hours later, he began thrashing about in a seizure so violent that he dislocated his shoulder.
  • Convulsions took him over and he was thrashing, shaking, screaming, but he didn't know it.
  • He hissed in my ear as I thrashed about in the tight circle of his arms.
flail, writhe, thresh, jerk, toss, twist, twitch
1.3 [no object] (thrash around) Struggle in a wild or desperate way to do something: two months of thrashing around on my own have produced nothing
More example sentences
  • The Government keeps thrashing around for that magic bullet, desperate to eliminate this crisis once and for all.
  • Cricket attendances are in decline and the sport is thrashing around desperately for a solution.
  • So it seems to me he should be out there, front and center, especially at time when the administration has been sort of thrashing around for a spokesman to put out there to talk about the domestic threat.
1.4 informal Defeat (someone) heavily in a contest or match: I thrashed Pete at cards [with object and complement]: the Braves were thrashed 8-1 by the Mets
More example sentences
  • After defeating Burnley and thrashing Gillingham 7-1, the young Blues will find it much tougher at Goodison Park.
  • The students of St John's College bounced back from a heavy mid-week defeat to thrash Dunnington 6-0.
  • Yorkshire have so far suffered crushing defeats by Surrey and Somerset while Kent were thrashed by Hampshire in their last match.
1.5 [no object] Move with brute determination or violent movements: I wrench the steering wheel back and thrash on up the hill
More example sentences
  • As their fins thrashed through the water in fast pursuit, I saw the whale shark descend rapidly to the depths.
  • It's nice to think of them picturing Father Christmas and his sleigh whooshing across frosty rooftops, as opposed to me thrashing my way around a soulless out-of-town shopping centre.
1.6 rare term for thresh (sense 1).


1 [usually in singular] A violent or noisy movement, typically involving hitting something repeatedly: the thrash of the waves
More example sentences
  • It was a brief but animated struggle, the flex of the rod and the 6-pound-test line absorbing the runs, thrashes and splashes of the creature that had been hiding in ambush in the roots of the cypress tree.
2 (also thrash metal) A style of fast, loud, harsh-sounding rock music, combining elements of punk and heavy metal.
Example sentences
  • There are also elements of thrash metal, cock rock and pop punk.
  • It involves him playing loud thrash metal music late at night, or joining a group of Dublin youngsters in a joy-riding escapade.
  • Neither is formal beauty a universally shared musical value, as much as film music or thrash metal are deliberately ugly.
2.1A short, fast, loud piece or passage of rock music.
Example sentences
  • The best stuff is from the early seventies, when the murky, basic production and tight rhythm section set up a selection of exciting guitar thrashes.
  • There are some explosive stop-start punky thrashes that sound like Pavement at warp-speed.

Phrasal verbs

thrash something out

Discuss something thoroughly and honestly.
Example sentences
  • We needed to thrash those issues out.
  • And, in the weeks and months that followed, the pros and cons were thrashed out and re-examined and discussed and analysed until there was nothing left to say.
  • Guys are willing to thrash things out with each other when there are conflicts.
resolve, settle, sort out, work out, straighten out, iron out, clear up;
talk through, discuss, debate
work out, negotiate, agree on, bring about, hammer out, hammer together, hash out, produce, effect
Example sentences
  • The political clash between Irish nationalism and Unionism has been reduced to little more than shadow boxing, with the consequence that nothing of political substance is ever thrashed out or resolved.
  • Late on Sunday night, the two men met, eventually thrashing out a deal.
  • They were thrashing out the most significant deal in recent Scottish brewing history.


Old English, variant of thresh (an early sense). Current senses of the noun date from the mid 19th century.

  • Thrash and thresh are variant forms of the same Old English word. The Germanic root sense was probably ‘to tramp with the feet’. Thrash was used for treading out corn by men or oxen; when beating with a flail replaced treading, thresh was restricted to producing grain, and thrash extended to more generalized notions of knocking, beating, and striking. In threshold (Old English) the first element is related to thresh in the Germanic sense ‘tread’, but the origin of the second element remains unknown.

Words that rhyme with thrash

abash, ash, Ashe, bash, brash, cache, calash, cash, clash, crash, dash, encash, flash, gnash, hash, lash, mash, Nash, panache, pash, plash, rash, sash, slash, smash, soutache, splash, stash, trash

For editors and proofreaders

Syllabification: thrash

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