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

  • But I'm goin' to thrash this Yank within an inch of his life; see if I don't.

  • “And after that we can thrash Zeke and Lem with a good heart,” suggested Tom.

    The Dare Boys of 1776

    Stephen Angus Cox

  • Did you give him over to the police, or thrash him soundly with your stick?

  • Thrash that girl as if she were a bay boy, for she richly deserves it!

    Hidden Hand

    Emma Dorothy Eliza Nevitte Southworth

  • Now it was a place I came to when I had a problem to thrash out.

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