See more synonyms for thaw 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.
  3. (of the weather) to become warm enough to melt ice and snow: It will probably thaw today.
  4. to become less formal, reserved, or aloof: He thawed at their kindness.
  5. 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.
  3. to make less cold, formal, or reserved.
  4. 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.
  3. a reduction or easing in tension or hostility.
  4. (in winter or in areas where freezing weather is the norm) weather warm enough to melt ice and snow.
  5. a period of such weather: We had a two-week thaw in January.
  6. 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

before 1000; (v.) Middle English thawen, Old English thawian; cognate with Dutch dooien, Old Norse theyja; (noun) late Middle English, derivative of the v.
Related formsthaw·less, adjectivere·thaw, verbun·der·thaw, verbun·thawed, adjectiveun·thaw·ing, adjective
Can be confusedevanesce evaporate liquefy melt thaw transpire vaporizeevanescence evaporation liquefaction melting thawing transpiration vaporization

Synonyms for thaw

See more synonyms for on
1. See melt1. 2, 8. warm.

Antonyms for thaw

1. freeze. Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for thawed

Contemporary Examples of thawed

Historical Examples of thawed

British Dictionary definitions for thawed


  1. to melt or cause to melt from a solid frozen statethe snow thawed
  2. to become or cause to become unfrozen; defrost
  3. (intr) to be the case that the ice or snow is meltingit's thawing fast
  4. (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
  3. an increase in relaxation or friendliness
Derived Formsthawer, nounthawless, adjective

Word Origin for thaw

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

Word Origin and History for thawed



Old English þawian, from Proto-Germanic *thawojanan (cf. Old Norse þeyja, Middle Low German doien, Dutch dooien, Old High German douwen, German tauen "to thaw"), from PIE root *ta- "to melt, dissolve" (cf. Sanskrit toyam "water," Ossetic thayun "to thaw," Welsh tawadd "molten," Doric Greek takein "to melt, waste, be consumed," Old Irish tam "pestilence," Latin tabes "a melting, wasting away, putrefaction," Old Church Slavonic tajati "to melt"). Related: Thawed; thawing.



c.1400, from thaw (v.). Figurative sense of "relaxation of political harshness or hostility" is recorded from 1950, an image from the "Cold War."

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper