See more synonyms for thrashing on

Origin of thrashing

Middle English word dating back to 1350–1400; see origin at thrash, -ing1


verb (used with object)
  1. to beat soundly in punishment; flog.
  2. to defeat thoroughly: The home team thrashed the visitors.
  3. Nautical. to force (a close-hauled sailing ship under heavy canvas) against a strong wind or sea.
  4. thresh.
verb (used without object)
  1. to toss, or plunge about.
  2. Nautical. to make way against the wind, tide, etc.; beat.
  3. thresh(defs 3, 4).
  1. an act or instance of thrashing; beating; blow.
  2. thresh(def 5).
  3. Swimming. the upward and downward movement of the legs, as in the crawl.
  4. British Slang. a party, usually with drinks.
Verb Phrases
  1. thrash out/over, to talk over thoroughly and vigorously in order to reach a decision, conclusion, or understanding; discuss exhaustively.Also thresh out/over.

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

See more synonyms for on
1. maul, drub.

Synonym study

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

Examples from the Web for thrashing

Contemporary Examples of thrashing

Historical Examples of thrashing

  • Perhaps never in his twenty-two years had young Drummond been so near a thrashing.


    Mary Roberts Rinehart

  • This he jerked up and down to make ready for his task of thrashing "the pigmy."

    Welsh Fairy Tales

    William Elliott Griffis

  • And all the better, I dare say, for the thrashing he got when a youngster, from the Vermont tailor.

    Homeward Bound

    James Fenimore Cooper

  • They had had to take a thrashing, but that was no reason why a man should not fill his stomach.

    The Downfall

    Emile Zola

  • From somewhere in the grove came a thrashing of branches and a frightened neigh.

    The Woman-Haters

    Joseph C. Lincoln

British Dictionary definitions for thrashing


  1. a physical assault; flogging
  2. a convincing defeata 5–1 thrashing


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



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