Origin of thrash

before 900; Middle English thrasshen, variant of thresshen to thresh
Related formsun·thrashed, adjectivewell-thrashed, adjective
Can be confusedthrash thresh

Synonyms for thrash

1. maul, drub.

Synonym study

1. See beat.
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for thrash

Contemporary Examples of thrash

Historical Examples of thrash

  • Now, Brooks had men enough to thrash them soundly, but unless he caught them in the act of spoliation he lacked authority.

    A Trooper Galahad

    Charles King

  • Anyway, I mean to thrash the matter to the bottom, and let you know the exact truth, even if it goes against me to tell you.

    The Beggar Man

    Ruby Mildred Ayres

  • I think it is very much safer, all round, to let them—him and her—thrash it out between them, don't you know.

  • I'll not leave a spark of pride in his body I'll not thrash out of him.

    The Cock and Anchor

    Joseph Sheridan Le Fanu

  • My idea was to wait outside the town of Falmouth, to waylay them, and then to thrash them both within an inch of their lives.

    The Birthright

    Joseph Hocking

British Dictionary definitions for thrash



(tr) to beat soundly, as with a whip or stick
(tr) to defeat totally; overwhelm
(intr) to beat or plunge about in a wild manner
(intr) to move the legs up and down in the water, as in certain swimming strokes
to sail (a boat) against the wind or tide or (of a boat) to sail in this way
another word for thresh


the act of thrashing; blow; beating
informal a party or similar social gathering
See also thrash out

Word Origin for thrash

Old English threscan; related to Old High German dreskan, Old Norse thriskja
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 thrash

1580s, "to separate grains from wheat, etc., by beating," dialectal variant of threshen (see thresh). Sense of "beat (someone) with (or as if with) a flail" is first recorded c.1600. Meaning "to make wild movements like those of a flail or whip" is attested from 1846. Related: Thrashed; thrashing. Type of fast heavy metal music first called by this name 1982.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper