[ thaw ]
See synonyms for: thawthawed on

verb (used without object)
  1. to pass or change from a frozen to a liquid or semiliquid state; melt.

  2. to be freed from the physical effect of frost or extreme cold (sometimes followed by out): Sit by the fire and thaw out.

  1. (of the weather) to become warm enough to melt ice and snow: It will probably thaw today.

  2. to become less formal, reserved, or aloof: He thawed at their kindness.

  3. to become less hostile or tense: International relations thawed.

verb (used with object)
  1. to cause to change from a frozen to a liquid or semiliquid state; melt.

  2. to free from the physical effect of frost or extreme cold; bring to a more normal temperature, especially to room temperature: I took the steaks out of the freezer and thawed them.

  1. to make less cold, formal, or reserved.

  2. to make less tense or hostile.

  1. the act or process of thawing.

  2. the act or fact of becoming less formal, reserved, or aloof.

  1. a reduction or easing in tension or hostility.

  2. (in winter or in areas where freezing weather is the norm) weather warm enough to melt ice and snow.

  3. a period of such weather: We had a two-week thaw in January.

  4. the thaw, the first day in the year when ice in harbors, rivers, etc., breaks up or loosens enough to begin flowing to the sea, allowing navigation: The Anchorage thaw came on May 18th.

Origin of thaw

First recorded before 1000; (verb) Middle English thawen,Old English thawian; cognate with Dutch dooien,Old Norse theyja; (noun) late Middle English, derivative of the verb

synonym study For thaw

1. See melt1.

Other words for thaw

Opposites for thaw

Other words from thaw

  • thawless, adjective
  • re·thaw, verb
  • un·der·thaw, verb
  • un·thawed, adjective
  • un·thaw·ing, adjective

Words that may be confused with thaw Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023

How to use thaw in a sentence

  • The beef remains in this condition until it is thawed, ensuring the freshness and quality from when it was originally frozen.

  • I serve creamed pearl onions—yes—with a few thawed frozen peas tossed in as well.

    Turkey Day Bacchanal | Christopher Idone | November 23, 2009 | THE DAILY BEAST
  • I thought that the frozen surface of the American woman thawed on the stratum soubrette.

    Ancestors | Gertrude Atherton
  • His run had set a pleasant glow upon his skin and seemed to have thawed the frozen condition of his joints.

    St. Martin's Summer | Rafael Sabatini
  • To-day, however, Randulf had quite thawed him; he became lively, and even swore twice without being aware of it.

    Skipper Worse | Alexander Lange Kielland
  • We worked waist-deep in it part of the time, and thawed out every stick of giant-powder at the fire.

    The Gold Trail | Harold Bindloss
  • Aunt Maria tried to look stern at the compliment, but eventually thawed into a smile over it.

    Overland | John William De Forest

British Dictionary definitions for thaw


/ (θɔː) /

  1. to melt or cause to melt from a solid frozen state: the snow thawed

  2. to become or cause to become unfrozen; defrost

  1. (intr) to be the case that the ice or snow is melting: it's thawing fast

  2. (intr) to become more sociable, relaxed, or friendly

  1. the act or process of thawing

  2. a spell of relatively warm weather, causing snow or ice to melt

  1. an increase in relaxation or friendliness

Origin of thaw

Old English thawian; related to Old High German douwen to thaw, Old Norse theyja to thaw, Latin tabēre to waste away

Derived forms of thaw

  • thawer, noun
  • thawless, adjective

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