Definition of thaw in English:

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Pronunciation: /θɔː/


[no object]
1(Of ice, snow, or another frozen substance, such as food) become liquid or soft as a result of warming up: the river thawed and barges of food began to reach the capital (as noun thawing) catastrophic summer floods caused by thawing
More example sentences
  • Or they abandoned ship altogether and slogged to shore, hoping to regain their vessels when the ice thawed.
  • There's never a reason to leave food thawing on the counter.
  • But closer study at the nearby University of Alaska revealed an assortment of bacterial cells, many of which came to life as soon as the ice thawed.
1.1 (it thaws, it is thawing, etc.) The weather becomes warmer and causes snow and ice to melt.
Example sentences
  • Today was much warmer and consequently it thawed and roads became very muddy, just as if a heavy rain had fallen.
  • But of the state of the pitch, he recalls: ‘During the week, it had snowed, then thawed and then frozen again and there was ice under all that water on the surface.’
melt, unfreeze, soften, liquefy, dissolve;
North American  unthaw
1.2 [with object] Make (something) warm enough to become liquid or soft: European exporters simply thawed their beef before unloading
More example sentences
  • To use, thaw the dough in the fridge until it is soft enough to handle.
  • They were then thawed, their soft tissues removed, dried in an oven at 60°C for 72 hours and weighed.
  • Tissues stored in liquid nitrogen were thawed at room temperature.
1.3(Of a part of the body) become warm enough to stop feeling numb: Riven began to feel his ears and toes thaw out
More example sentences
  • I squeezed in between two people and let my fingers and toes thaw out.
  • Dylan stays only long enough for his legs to thaw and then leaves.
1.4Make or become friendlier or more cordial: [no object]: she thawed out sufficiently to allow a smile to appear
More example sentences
  • Max had finally thawed out again, and he smiled, and said, ‘Such zealotry for your country.’
  • In the Gorbachev era, relations thawed somewhat as high officials exchanged visits and the Soviet Union reduced its Far East nuclear forces and troops, but fundamental differences remained unchanged when the Soviet Union dissolved.
  • These relations thawed somewhat with the conclusion of formal hostilities in Korea and the death of Joseph Stalin.
become friendlier, become more genial, become more sociable, loosen up, relax, become more relaxed


1A period of warmer weather that thaws ice and snow: the thaw came yesterday afternoon
More example sentences
  • Weather forecasters said a thaw would get under way today.
  • Mid-March did not see the thaw in the weather that people had hoped for.
  • But such is the capricious side to April's weather that the sun shone the following day and a rapid thaw set in turning the snow-laden streets into water courses.
1.1An increase in friendliness or cordiality: a thaw in relations between the USA and the USSR
More example sentences
  • And now, in the light of the recent thaw in relations between Libya and the West, Scotland Yard detectives have agreed to carry her plea to the ears of the dictator.
  • In 2000, the Indian government banned all home and away cricket against Pakistan but the policy was changed in 2003 after a thaw in relations.
  • But the sudden thaw in relations between the two sides could not guarantee that the eight-day strike planned to start on Friday would be called off.


Old English thawian (verb), of West Germanic origin; related to Dutch dooien. The noun (first recorded in Middle English) developed its figurative use in the mid 19th century.

Words that rhyme with thaw

abhor, adore, afore, anymore, ashore, awe, bandore, Bangalore, before, boar, Boer, bore, caw, chore, claw, cocksure, comprador, cor, core, corps, craw, Delors, deplore, door, draw, drawer, evermore, explore, flaw, floor, for, forbore, fore, foresaw, forevermore, forswore, four, fourscore, furthermore, Gábor, galore, gnaw, gore, grantor, guarantor, guffaw, hard-core, Haugh, haw, hoar, ignore, implore, Indore, interwar, jaw, Johor, Lahore, law, lessor, lor, lore, macaw, man-o'-war, maw, mirador, mor, more, mortgagor, Mysore, nevermore, nor, oar, obligor, offshore, onshore, open-jaw, or, ore, outdoor, outwore, paw, poor, pore, pour, rapport, raw, roar, saw, scaur, score, senhor, señor, shaw, ship-to-shore, shop-floor, shore, signor, Singapore, snore, soar, softcore, sore, spore, store, straw, swore, Tagore, tau, taw, Thor, threescore, tor, tore, torr, trapdoor, tug-of-war, two-by-four, underfloor, underscore, war, warrantor, Waugh, whore, withdraw, wore, yaw, yore, your

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