/ (θrəʊz) /
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pl n

a condition of violent pangs, pain, or convulsionsdeath throes
in the throes of struggling with great effort witha country in the throes of revolution



Were you ready for a quiz on this topic? Well, here it is! See how well you can differentiate between the uses of "was" vs. "were" in this quiz.
Question 1 of 7
“Was” is used for the indicative past tense of “to be,” and “were” is only used for the subjunctive past tense.

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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


What does throes mean?

The word throes refers to a state or condition of pain or violent convulsions, spasms, or pangs.

Is throe a word? Yes, the singular form throe is a word, and it refers to a pain, pang, or spasm, but it is very rarely used.

Throes is especially associated with situations involving physical or emotional pain or agony, as in the throes of childbirth or the throes of grief. It can also be used in the context of a situation that’s an intense struggle, as in the throes of creation or the throes of revolution. The phrase death throes can refer to the agony of dying or it can be used metaphorically to refer to the final stages of something, as in The terrible reviews of his latest book represent the death throes of his career.

The word throes is commonly used in the phrase in the throes of, meaning in the midst of something intense, especially a painful situation, a struggle, or a crisis, as in We were in the throes of battle when the reinforcements arrived. It can also be used in less serious situations, as in We were in the throes of a movie marathon when the power went out. 

Example: When I’m in the throes of the flu, I barely have the energy to get out of bed.

Where does throes come from?

The first records of the word throe come from the 1100s. The origin of the word isn’t certain. It may come from the Old English verb thrōwian, meaning “to suffer” or “to be in pain,” or from the Old English thrāwu, meaning “threat.”

Throes is typically used in situations involving pain or struggle. It’s especially used in certain phrases, such as death throes, the throes of childbirth, and the throes of passion. It often involves something serious, but it can be used in a somewhat humorous way to exaggerate the seriousness or intensity of a situation.

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What are some other forms related to throes?

  • throe (rare singular version)

What are some synonyms for throes?

What are some words that share a root or word element with throes

What are some words that often get used in discussing throes?


What are some words throes may be commonly confused with?



How is throes used in real life?

Throes is most commonly used in the phrase in the throes. It’s especially applied to negative situations.



Try using throes!

Which of the following words is NOT a synonym of throes

A. pangs
B. agony
C. delights
D. anguish

Example sentences from the Web for throes