Definition of thatch in English:



  • 1A roof covering of straw, reeds, palm leaves, or a similar material.

    • ‘Underneath the thatch it was a roaring blaze but on top it was smouldering.’
    • ‘Although a reed roof can last a lifetime, the ridges of the thatch need to be replaced every 10 years.’
    • ‘She said: ‘We were getting a bit anxious because the smoke was coming out of the bedroom window and getting a bit close to the thatch.’’
    • ‘Over the eight-foot security fence we see a man fixing the thatch on a new hut in an adjacent field.’
    • ‘Rain seeped through the thatch and dripped into cups, bowls, kettles, and buckets in no less than a dozen places.’
    • ‘With a similar thought, I mended the thatch on the eaves of the hut, patched up the gaps in the fence, and at the beginning of the fourth month, the first month of summer, moved in for what I thought would be no more than a brief stay.’
    • ‘The thatch is still damp from the rains, but we shall watch it for a while, in case it hides a spark.’
    • ‘Using a technique developed by Wiltshire Fire Brigade, the firefighters cut a number of breaks in the thatch to contain the blaze.’
    • ‘He had pulled up outside to take a call on his mobile phone, and seen the smoke and flames in the thatch.’
    • ‘Beneath the thatch we squat in the dust, clink our bottles and drink.’
    • ‘But it's OK, they passed special rules to let us have thatch in the original style, so long as we put the sprinklers in.’
    • ‘The downpour continued all night, but nary a drop violated my palm thatch.’
    • ‘I needn't tell you what would happen if the thatch had caught fire.’
    • ‘The straw thatch was not two feet above her face.’
    • ‘The roof is constructed of wood, but has a thick thatch as well for insulation.’
    • ‘Mr High estimated that internal repairs and having the thatch replaced would probably cost £40,000 or more.’
    • ‘But the flames quickly spread along the underside of the thatch and in less than two hours the whole building was gutted.’
    • ‘The walls will last indefinitely, but the thatch will have to be replaced in about 30 years.’
    • ‘Our cowshed has seen some repairs, the thatch is re-laid annually and old worm-infested wooden poles and frames are replaced.’
    • ‘High on the roof of the store, weaving a string of Norfolk reeds into the thatch, Billy Betsford looked down at the old man.’
    • ‘But I could not find woven coconut fronds in enough numbers for the thatch of the theatre.’
    1. 1.1Straw or a similar material used for a roof covering.
      • ‘They are made of wood or bamboo, often with walls of bamboo matting, and roofs of thatch or corrugated tin.’
      • ‘On top of this, they demonstrate just how clean and genuinely cosy homes built of stone, lime, mud and thatch can be.’
      • ‘They supplied their own thatch from barley grown on the island and the thatcher would stay on the island till the job was done.’
      • ‘Construction materials include sticks and logs, earth, and thatch.’
      • ‘In the south, which is warmer, most country folk live in houses made of straw, thatch, or palm leaves.’
      • ‘Traditional building materials of mud (for walls) and thatch (for roofs) are being replaced by cement and tiles.’
      • ‘Opposite the entrance, across the courtyard, is a roughly circular room, which may have had a conical roof of turf or thatch.’
      • ‘Huts are either circular or oblong with wattle (woven-stick) walls, plastered outside and inside with mud, and roofed with thatch.’
      • ‘Most of the homes of poor rural people are made of local materials, with floors of packed earth, walls of adobe or wattle and daub, and roofs of clay tiles or thatch.’
      • ‘Before long, mass-produced and processed building materials, such as Bedfordshire brick and Welsh slate, began to displace local stones and thatch.’
      • ‘In small towns and villages, new houses tend to be built from concrete blocks with metal roofs, but many are constructed from mud bricks and roofed with thatch.’
      • ‘In 1956, he married and built a two-storey house with heavy thatch on the roof.’
      • ‘These buildings could be substantial, consisting normally of a low wall of stone with a roof of thatch, skins, or other organic material supported by timbers.’
      • ‘Bryony sighed as she hauled a bunch of thatch from the lower beams of the roof and began to spread the bundles across the upper framework.’
      • ‘In the north, houses are rectangular and made from wooden planks or palm thatch.’
      • ‘The camp includes a group of tents, a temple, tin-roofed sheds and small temporary houses made of reclaimed timber and coconut thatch.’
      • ‘Each lodge has luxury en suite accommodation in tents the size of bungalows, built on stilts under a roof of thatch, surrounded by an elephant-proof stockade.’
      • ‘Until the 1970s, houses throughout the group were open rectangular structures supported by pandanus posts and roofed with pandanus thatch.’
      • ‘Lines of postholes on the axis of each building held wooden posts supporting a pitched roof, most probably of thatch.’
      • ‘Roofing materials were thatch, turf, timber, tiles, slates, and lead.’
      • ‘At a time when fire-fighting equipment was virtually non-existent and buildings constructed of timber and thatch, town fires were a constant hazard.’
      • ‘Some were roofed with lead sheets, and some with thatch, and some with a mixture of both.’
    2. 1.2informal The hair on a person's head, especially if thick or unruly.
      • ‘He had brown eyes and a thatch of thick, shaggy brown hair.’
      • ‘Andy raked a hand through his thick thatch of brown hair and said, ‘Don't worry about the hot dog, okay?’’
      • ‘The youngster let out a yelp and clutched at the crown of his thatch of tangled, sandy hair.’
      • ‘He is a somewhat shambling but attractive denim-clad man in his late 50s, with a thatch of pewter-coloured hair, an engaging smile and a permanently amused gaze.’
      • ‘He's tanned, fit, and blessed with a full thatch of light-brown hair.’
      • ‘At 50, Sachs has a boyish thatch of brown hair and an expression of implacable earnestness.’
      • ‘He's got a thatch of floppy brown hair that gives him a certain boyish look, but he's gray at the temples, and there are little fans of wrinkles at the corners of his eyes.’
      • ‘It was then that he noticed a thatch of blonde hair behind the couch.’
      • ‘The stocky Dundonian has grown a thatch of snowy white hair and a matching beard for his role as a crazy psychiatrist in the film version of the international bestseller Running With Scissors.’
      • ‘He was a jovial-looking man with a broad smile, playful hazel eyes and a thatch of silver hair.’
      • ‘I gave his thick thatch of apparently genuine hair a tug to make sure.’
      • ‘His astoundingly ugly head, with a pair of pale eyes and a slit-mouth under a conical red thatch, was thrown forward above his barrel chest, making his long face seem both inquisitive and moronic.’
      mass, mane, mop, thatch, head, crop, bush, cloud, frizz, fuzz, foam, curls, tangle, chaos, cascade, quiff, halo
      View synonyms
    3. 1.3A matted layer of dead stalks, moss, and other material in a lawn.
      • ‘They contain microorganisms that help to decompose any layers of thatch present.’
      • ‘Rent a power rake and coring machine to remove thatch and improve air and water circulation around roots of Bermuda grass.’
      • ‘It's a good time to scarify lawns and remove the dead grass called thatch.’
      • ‘Besides raking leaves up, you want to rake deep into the soil to remove thatch.’
      • ‘Inorganic chemical fertilizers encourage the accumulation of thatch in the top layer of the soil.’
      • ‘All grass forms a layer of dead plant material, known as thatch, between the grass blades and the soil.’
      • ‘That will start a mulching action that breaks down thatch.’
      • ‘On a dry day, scarify the lawn to remove unwanted thatch and then aerate and top-dress any badly drained areas.’
      • ‘If conditions are dry enough, lawns will benefit from a good raking to remove debris, thatch and moss.’
      • ‘Use a rake to remove winter debris, break up small amounts of thatch and lift the grass leaves and weed stems.’
      • ‘Aerate lawns at least once a season to help prevent the build-up of thatch.’
      • ‘However, if the lawn has a thick layer of thatch, grass clippings won't decompose as efficiently.’
      • ‘It's amazing how much thatch you can rake out of a lawn if you do it every two or three years.’
      • ‘Rake to maintain a clean lawn, doing an especially thorough job at the end of the growing season to reduce thatch.’
      • ‘Most warm-season grasses develop thatch, a spongelike layer of roots, runners, and grass blades just above the soil surface.’
      • ‘Aerate in the fall to help break up compacted soil and remove excess thatch, allowing fertilizer nutrients, sunlight and air to infiltrate the soil.’
      • ‘Scarifying is done in autumn to remove debris and to prevent the build-up of thatch.’
      • ‘Heavy thatch may require a second application a week later.’
      • ‘If, after the first cut or two, your lawn looks a bit yellow and patchy, it is probably full of thatch - dead grass and moss - that will give the lawn a spongy feel.’
      • ‘When thatch gets too thick it prevents water and nutrients from penetrating to the soil and grass roots.’


  • Cover (a roof or a building) with straw or a similar material.

    ‘thatched cottages’
    • ‘The roof was thatched, like all the other houses in the village.’
    • ‘Houses are usually rectangular and have mud walls and a gabled roof thatched with straw.’
    • ‘Like most farms, its roof was thatched, and it wasn't very special in any other way either.’
    • ‘The final, and most exposed of these cottages is unique, being the last thatched one on this coast.’
    • ‘Here we've got some reeds as well, which are mainly used for thatching the roofs.’
    • ‘He said more than 200 thatched homes had been burnt down, with scores of people fleeing the area.’
    • ‘Another concrete house nestled amongst the more traditional black and white thatched houses.’
    • ‘In the top left, one sees a small group of three Irish houses - low, thatched buildings.’
    • ‘They can spend the night in Harome, in another beautifully thatched building just a short walk down the village main street.’
    • ‘The homes at the turn of the century were all built from fieldstones and had thatched roofs.’
    • ‘There were roofs that needed to be thatched and walls and doors that needed to be mended.’
    • ‘The grain was used for feeding the livestock and the straw for thatching the roof.’
    • ‘Yellow and red wooden canoes drift across to Ambu and Lilisiana, two thatched villages on stilts at opposite ends of the bay.’
    • ‘The roofs were thatched, turfed or covered in wood shingles, depending on available local resources.’
    • ‘The walls and floors were made of stone, and the roof was thatched.’
    • ‘Although it is illegal to have thatched roofs on schools, the practice is widespread and largely ignored.’
    • ‘The walls in these villages are plastered with cement or mud and most of the houses have thatched roofs.’
    • ‘Old farmhouses lie abandoned throughout the country while thatched cottages are rare.’
    • ‘The roof was thatched and a small stone chimney cheerfully puffed out bits of dark smoke.’
    • ‘Where we live is so picturesque that even the bus shelters are thatched.’


Old English theccan cover of Germanic origin; related to Dutch dekken and German decken.