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See more synonyms for throe on Thesaurus.com
  1. a violent spasm or pang; paroxysm.
  2. a sharp attack of emotion.
  3. throes,
    1. any violent convulsion or struggle: the throes of battle.
    2. the agony of death.
    3. the pains of childbirth.
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Origin of throe

1150–1200; Middle English throwe, alteration of thrawe (-o- from Old English thrōwian to suffer, be in pain), Old English thrawu; cognate with Old Norse thrā (in līkthrā leprosy)
Can be confusedthroe throw

Synonyms for throe

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

Related Words for throe

agony, turmoil, anguish, pang, struggle, ache, disorder, spasm

Examples from the Web for throe

Historical Examples of throe

  • “You will not throe me off my guard thus,” said Henry, sternly.

    Gascoyne, the Sandal-Wood Trader

    R.M. Ballantyne

  • Every throe of the sick girl seemed to penetrate her own body.

  • Nothing in his life, no throe of passion or gratification, had been like this.


    Joseph Hergesheimer

  • Something surged in him like the throe of the river where the ship went in.

    The Cup of Fury

    Rupert Hughes

  • She was startled by the throe of pitiful regret that seized her.

    Shadows of Flames

    Amelie Rives

British Dictionary definitions for throe


  1. rare a pang or pain
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Word Origin for throe

Old English thrāwu threat; related to Old High German drawa threat, Old Norse thrā desire, thrauka to endure
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 throe


c.1200, throwe "pain, pang of childbirth, agony of death," possibly from Old English þrawan "twist, turn, writhe" (see throw), or altered from Old English þrea (genitive þrawe) "affliction, pang, evil, threat" (related to þrowian "to suffer"), from Proto-Germanic *thrawo (cf. Middle High German dro "threat," German drohen "to threaten"). Modern spelling first recorded 1610s. Related: Throes.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

Idioms and Phrases with throe


see in the throes.

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The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.