Also thrash.

Origin of thresh

before 900; Middle English threschen, thresshen, Old English threscan; cognate with German dreschen, Gothic thriskan; akin to Dutch dorsen, Old Norse thriskja
Related formsre·thresh, verb (used with object)un·threshed, adjective
Can be confusedthrash thresh Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for thresh

Historical Examples of thresh

  • But fortunately he came up on the surface to thresh about some more.

  • The Moujik began to thresh: from every sheaf he got a peck of grain.

    Russian Fairy Tales

    W. R. S. Ralston

  • All his optimism failed to thresh a grain of hope from the chaff of his postulations.

  • He fell with a great roar, and began to thresh about in the bushes.

  • Be sensible; stack what you can, but don't wait to thresh or grind.

    The Reckoning

    Robert W. Chambers

British Dictionary definitions for thresh



to beat or rub stalks of ripe corn or a similar crop either with a hand implement or a machine to separate the grain from the husks and straw
(tr) to beat or strike
(intr often foll by about) to toss and turn; thrash


the act of threshing

Word Origin for thresh

Old English threscan; related to Gothic thriskan, Old Norse thriskja; see thrash
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 thresh

Old English þrescan, þerscan "to beat, sift grain by trampling or beating," from Proto-Germanic *threskanan "to thresh," originally "to tread, to stamp noisily" (cf. Middle Dutch derschen, Dutch dorschen, Old High German dreskan, German dreschen, Old Norse þreskja, Gothic þriskan), from PIE root *tere- "to rub, turn" (see throw).

The basic notion is of treading out wheat under foot of men or oxen, later, with the advent of the flail, the word acquired its modern extended sense of "to knock, beat, strike." The original Germanic sense is suggested by the use of the word in Romanic languages that borrowed it, e.g. Italian trescare "to prance," Old French treschier "to dance," Spanish triscar "to stamp the feet."

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper