See more synonyms for thwart on
verb (used with object)
  1. to oppose successfully; prevent from accomplishing a purpose.
  2. to frustrate or baffle (a plan, purpose, etc.).
  3. Archaic.
    1. to cross.
    2. to extend across.
  1. a seat across a boat, especially one used by a rower.
  2. a transverse member spreading the gunwales of a canoe or the like.
  1. passing or lying crosswise or across; cross; transverse.
  2. perverse; obstinate.
  3. adverse; unfavorable.
preposition, adverb
  1. across; athwart.

Origin of thwart

1200–50; Middle English thwert (adv.) < Old Norse thvert across, neuter of thverr transverse; cognate with Old English thweorh crooked, cross, Gothic thwairhs cross, angry
Related formsthwart·ed·ly, adverbthwart·er, nounun·thwart·ed, adjectiveun·thwart·ing, adjective

Synonyms for thwart

See more synonyms for on
1. hinder, obstruct. Thwart, frustrate, baffle imply preventing one, more or less completely, from accomplishing a purpose. Thwart and frustrate apply to purposes, actions, plans, etc., baffle, to the psychological state of the person thwarted. Thwart suggests stopping one by opposing, blocking, or in some way running counter to one's efforts. Frustrate implies rendering all attempts or efforts useless or ineffectual, so that nothing ever comes of them. Baffle suggests causing defeat by confusing, puzzling, or perplexing, so that a situation seems too hard a problem to understand or solve. Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for thwart

Contemporary Examples of thwart

Historical Examples of thwart

  • If it please you to take a leap into nothing it were pity to thwart you.

    Micah Clarke

    Arthur Conan Doyle

  • To do what the superior power requires of him, he must thwart his inclinations.


    James Anthony Froude

  • The vigilance of Sam had detected him, in time to thwart his purpose.

    Chronicles of Border Warfare

    Alexander Scott Withers

  • He wa'n't on the thwart, but down in a heap on the cockpit floor.

    The Depot Master

    Joseph C. Lincoln

  • He scrambled to the thwart, pushed her aside and seized the oars.

    The Woman-Haters

    Joseph C. Lincoln

British Dictionary definitions for thwart


  1. to oppose successfully or prevent; frustratethey thwarted the plan
  2. obsolete to be or move across
  1. nautical a seat lying across a boat and occupied by an oarsman
  1. passing or being situated across
  2. archaic perverse or stubborn
preposition, adverb
  1. obsolete across
Derived Formsthwartedly, adverbthwarter, noun

Word Origin for thwart

C13: from Old Norse thvert, from thverr transverse; related to Old English thweorh crooked, Old High German twerh transverse
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 thwart

c.1200, from Old Norse þvert "across," originally neuter of thverr (adj.) "transverse, across," cognate with Old English þweorh "transverse, perverse, angry, cross," from Proto-Germanic *thwerkhaz (cf. Middle Dutch dwers, Dutch dwars "cross-grained, contrary," Old High German twerh, German quer, Gothic þwairhs "angry"), altered (by influence of *thwer- "to turn") from *therkh-, from PIE *twork-/*twerk- "twist" (cf. Latin torquere "to twist," Sanskrit tarkuh "spindle," Old Church Slavonic traku "band, girdle," Old High German drahsil "turner," German drechseln "to turn on a lathe").


"oppose, hinder," mid-13c., from thwart (adv.). Related: Thwarted; thwarting.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper