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90s Slang You Should Know


[thresh] /θrɛʃ/
verb (used with object)
to separate the grain or seeds from (a cereal plant or the like) by some mechanical means, as by beating with a flail or by the action of a threshing machine.
to beat as if with a flail.
verb (used without object)
to thresh wheat, grain, etc.
to deliver blows as if with a flail.
the act of threshing.
Verb phrases
thresh out/over. thrash (def 12).
Also, thrash.
Origin of thresh
before 900; Middle English threschen, thresshen, Old English threscan; cognate with German dreschen, Gothic thriskan; akin to Dutch dorsen, Old Norse thriskja
Related forms
rethresh, verb (used with object)
unthreshed, adjective
Can be confused
thrash, thresh. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2017.
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Examples from the Web for thresh
Historical Examples
  • The close-reefed foresail flew out from the brails, and began to thresh tremendously in the fierce blast.

    Dikes and Ditches Oliver Optic
  • But fortunately he came up on the surface to thresh about some more.

    Tales of Fishes Zane Grey
  • We've got to thresh out the situation, and here's our last chance.

    The Girl in the Mirror Elizabeth Garver Jordan
  • The Moujik began to thresh: from every sheaf he got a peck of grain.

    Russian Fairy Tales W. R. S. Ralston
  • After a while the onions bore a plentiful crop of seeds, and the Indians began to gather and thresh it.

    New National Fourth Reader Charles J. Barnes and J. Marshall Hawkes
  • He fell with a great roar, and began to thresh about in the bushes.

  • I could thresh his old jacket till I made his pension jingle in his pocket.'

  • When they have been so adjusted the machine is ready to thresh.

    Farm Engines and How to Run Them James H. Stephenson
  • Patsy had been teaching her companion such phrases as "a blatter o' sleet," an "on-ding o' snaw," and a "thresh o' rain."

    Patsy S. R. Crockett
  • Two rows will thresh oats, where six are required for flax and timothy.

    Farm Engines and How to Run Them James H. Stephenson
British Dictionary definitions for thresh


to beat or rub stalks of ripe corn or a similar crop either with a hand implement or a machine to separate the grain from the husks and straw
(transitive) to beat or strike
(intransitive) often foll by about. to toss and turn; thrash
the act of threshing
Word Origin
Old English threscan; related to Gothic thriskan, Old Norse thriskja; see thrash
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for thresh

Old English þrescan, þerscan "to beat, sift grain by trampling or beating," from Proto-Germanic *threskanan "to thresh," originally "to tread, to stamp noisily" (cf. Middle Dutch derschen, Dutch dorschen, Old High German dreskan, German dreschen, Old Norse þreskja, Gothic þriskan), from PIE root *tere- "to rub, turn" (see throw).

The basic notion is of treading out wheat under foot of men or oxen, later, with the advent of the flail, the word acquired its modern extended sense of "to knock, beat, strike." The original Germanic sense is suggested by the use of the word in Romanic languages that borrowed it, e.g. Italian trescare "to prance," Old French treschier "to dance," Spanish triscar "to stamp the feet."

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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