Definition of throes in English:


plural noun

  • Intense or violent pain and struggle, especially accompanying birth, death, or great change.

    ‘he convulsed in his death throes’
    • ‘For some Newsom had the voice of a heavenly creature; for others she sounded like a whiny but tenacious cat in the throes of death.’
    • ‘If you look at what the dictionary says about throes, it can still be a violent period - the throes of a revolution.’
    • ‘If the first world war forged Hitler's character and politics, it was the death throes of the French empire in Algiers that made Le Pen the man he is today.’
    • ‘Cheney says this insurgency is in its last throes.’
    • ‘And in the continuing fiasco of the new parliament building, I see the death throes of another proud Scottish archetype.’
    • ‘Bolli's vocal trick is to stand in another room yowling as if in her death throes.’
    • ‘What emerges is a bigger, broader picture - a new world of pop in its birth throes.’
    • ‘This is the narration by someone who is undergoing death throes.’
    • ‘You can't expect the average couch potato to see the irony in the fact that a TV pathologist was being used to promote a company in its death throes.’
    • ‘Independent cinema in its various guises isn't in its death throes yet.’
    • ‘What is key to the current world, Wallerstein argues, is that we are now witnessing the death throes of the world system itself.’
    • ‘Do you think we are seeing the empire in its death throes?’
    • ‘The video ends with the hanging of the Preacher, the final shot showing his legs twitching in their death throes.’
    • ‘Unable to bear the death throes of her love affair, she becomes by turns desperate and tenacious, acting out with unbridled fury.’
    • ‘This was the era when Cubism was in its birth throes, when Picasso and Braque were embarking on an artistic revolution.’
    • ‘Perhaps what is said here does just represent the death throes of an ideology whose day is done.’
    • ‘His words of "Love your enemies", carefully cross-cut against his prayers for the tormentors forgiveness during his throes on the cross is a powerful piece of editing work.’
    • ‘Dookeran has been brought back for one reason: to shore up the image of a flagging party and a leader who is in his political death throes.’
    agony, pain, paroxysm, pangs, suffering, torture, torment, anguish, distress, hardship, struggle
    View synonyms


  • in the throes of

    • In the middle of doing or dealing with something very difficult or painful.

      ‘a friend was in the throes of a divorce’
      • ‘The harshness of these practices would suggest that we are in the throes of an epidemic of school violence.’
      • ‘They will become drug addicts in the throes of being involved in this industry.’
      • ‘A large man deep in the throes of late middle age appears in the living room.’
      • ‘He embraces his newfound friend in the throes of passion and turns to look at me, his eyes full of mirth.’
      • ‘I hear that our great Republic is in the throes of what is being called the Great Depression.’
      • ‘The following lines may have been written in the throes of delirium, but this is how it sounded to me.’
      • ‘But the evocation of a post-WWI society in the throes of great change is engrossing and entertaining.’
      • ‘Once more, the country is caught in the throes of yet another round of chaotic activity at the university.’
      • ‘Lost in the throes of passion, they keep scuttling onto the court.’
      • ‘Exports to the US, which was already in the throes of a slowdown, fell particularly sharply.’
      • ‘But if anyone has an excuse to be in the throes of depression it's Harwell.’
      • ‘An apparently liberated professional woman is caught in the throes of a struggle for empowerment.’
      • ‘And even when she was in the throes of chemotherapy Brigette wouldn't let her illness get the better of her.’
      • ‘One minute we can be talking about something completely unrelated to the subject and the next we're fully in the throes of it all.’
      • ‘The Royal Bank was in the throes of negotiating a new lease for a planned 300,000 sq ft replacement building.’
      • ‘The country would appear to be in the throes of what criminologists might call mild moral panic.’
      • ‘All was to be explained; Wellington was in the throes of a building boom.’
      • ‘About six years ago I holidayed at the Barrier at a place called Paradise Park, run by a couple in the throes of divorce.’
      • ‘Only in 1930-31 did it become apparent that the world was in the throes of a prolonged and deep depression.’
      struggling with, wrestling with, grappling with, tackling, toiling at, toiling with, labouring at, slaving at, working at, working on
      View synonyms


Middle English throwe (singular); perhaps related to Old English thrēa, thrawu ‘calamity’, influenced by thrōwian ‘suffer’.