Definition of thrash in English:



  • 1Beat (a person or animal) repeatedly and violently with a stick or whip.

    ‘she thrashed him across the head and shoulders’
    ‘what he needs is a good thrashing’
    • ‘His father paid a visit to mine, who proceeded to thrash me with a yardstick.’
    • ‘She would beat her until her arm was tired and then thrash her on the floor.’
    • ‘Another man, reminding his mother of how his father used to thrash him at her behest, was told, ‘You were a bad child and you deserved it.’’
    • ‘This annoyed the jawans who beat the husband and when wife intervened to stop them, she was also thrashed.’
    • ‘After thrashing him, one of the youths pulled a pistol and shot him in the stomach.’
    • ‘Then he was thrashed by criminals for being a ‘traitor’ to his country.’
    • ‘She was sexually exploited and if she refused to comply, she was thrashed.’
    • ‘Joshua grabbed the whip, thrashing the master again and again.’
    • ‘Ravi's father often thrashes him for neglecting studies.’
    • ‘Then she started thrashing him about the head and shoulders.’
    • ‘I was raised on a cattle/sheep farm, and if you didn't eat your meat for dinner you were thrashed about the head with a crowbar.’
    • ‘His future father-in-law came round to dinner one evening and attempted to thrash him with a horsewhip.’
    • ‘Once home, his father, a freedom fighter, thrashed him mercilessly.’
    • ‘The accused were armed with sharp edged weapons and thrashed him brutally.’
    • ‘From where we were, we could see them thrashing him mercilessly, hitting him with stones.’
    • ‘His mother, who had thrashed him twice in front of his gurus for not being regular to his classes, had also played a role.’
    • ‘Once they had finished thrashing me, they tied me up again, but this time I managed to keep my ankles and wrists slightly apart.’
    beating, flogging, whipping, horsewhipping, scourging, lashing, flagellation, caning, belting, leathering
    hit, beat, flog, whip, horsewhip, scourge, lash, flagellate, flail, strap, birch, cane, belt, leather
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1 Hit (something) hard and repeatedly.
      ‘the wind screeched and the mast thrashed the deck’
      • ‘Those famous feet thrash the water so hard, the men that trail him say it is like being immersed in a washing machine.’
      • ‘Is it better to be an isolated, depressed Western nuclear family housewife whose washing machine has a five year guarantee or an Indian woman who thrashes her washing on boulders in the river in the company of other women?’
    2. 1.2no object Move in a violent and convulsive way.
      ‘he lay on the ground thrashing around in pain’
      with object ‘she thrashed her arms, attempting to swim’
      • ‘A family who went to confront an intruder in their garden were surprised to find a young deer thrashing around in their swimming pool.’
      • ‘Then Amy started violently thrashing in her sleep.’
      • ‘As the tiny birds thrash around trying to free themselves they become even more entrapped.’
      • ‘A few hours later, he began thrashing about in a seizure so violent that he dislocated his shoulder.’
      • ‘Every time he accelerates it reclines of its own accord, leaving my legs thrashing around in the air.’
      • ‘Convulsions took him over and he was thrashing, shaking, screaming, but he didn't know it.’
      • ‘Four years later though, and I was the only one still thrashing around in the shallow end, terrified of getting his head underwater.’
      • ‘He hissed in my ear as I thrashed about in the tight circle of his arms.’
      • ‘Great tears were rolling down her face as she thrashed on the bed.’
      • ‘Struggling, she thrashed about hoping to break free.’
      • ‘Violently, he thrashed around on the bed until he fell and hit the floor.’
      • ‘The more they thrash, push and struggle the more quickly they fatigue and the more mistakes they make.’
      • ‘I donned this ensemble and went to dark, smoky clubs where I thrashed around to ear-ringing, heart-stopping music.’
      • ‘If you want to swim really fast, stop thrashing about, relax and feel the water.’
      • ‘Kicking and thrashing, Jennifer desperately struggled to break free.’
      • ‘She thrashed and struggled and howled as they dragged her further inside.’
      • ‘After the first operation he wouldn't come round and kept thrashing around which is when they found the second blood clot.’
      • ‘He thrashed madly, slamming his fists down wherever he could reach and kicking wildly.’
      • ‘Through the night she was panting and thrashing in her sleep, sometimes screaming out.’
      • ‘There was Sara being held down by nurses as she thrashed around, desperate to get back to her husband.’
      flail, thresh, flounder, toss and turn, jerk, toss, squirm, writhe, twist, wriggle, wiggle, twitch
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    3. 1.3thrash aroundno object Struggle in a wild or desperate way to do something.
      ‘two months of thrashing around on my own have produced nothing’
      • ‘And as a final jibe he remarked that it was always sad to see a politician at the end of his career thrashing around for an issue.’
      • ‘Many commentators have spent the week thrashing around in an attempt to discover what it means.’
      • ‘He insists that after hearing what specialists had to say he was even more convinced he was right, and that Howard was an old political leader thrashing around for an issue.’
      • ‘As the US thrashes around for someone to blame, it was inevitable that it would focus on China, with its large trade surplus, just as the twin fiscal and trade deficits of the Reagan era led to a focus on Japan two decades ago.’
      • ‘So it seems to me he should be out there, front and center, especially at time when the administration has been sort of thrashing around for a spokesman to put out there to talk about the domestic threat.’
      • ‘The Government keeps thrashing around for that magic bullet, desperate to eliminate this crisis once and for all.’
      • ‘After much thrashing around, the biotech industry is finally nearing consensus on what to call less expensive, generic-type alternatives to pricey biotech drugs.’
      • ‘He thrashes around, drinking too much and playing his daughter's CDs.’
      • ‘Does it start to look though as if the Government is trying to thrash around a bit, trying to make a bit of policy on the run in an attempt to try and get back on the front foot?’
      • ‘It would seem that we're into one of those cycles where old issues are still being thrashed around, locally, and nationally.’
      • ‘By thrashing around for solutions to the ‘politics of behaviour’ in this way, the government is helping to fuel the spiral of fear and alienation across society.’
      • ‘So they thrash around, throwing money at projects and making sacrifices to the gods.’
      • ‘Since his public standing hit an all-time low following his divorce he has been thrashing around for some means to enhance his popularity.’
      • ‘Cricket attendances are in decline and the sport is thrashing around desperately for a solution.’
      • ‘His government, which has been under constant pressure from some corporate circles to beef up its industrial laws, has been thrashing around for ways to push its agenda forward.’
      • ‘You've graduated from the Famous Five and Roald Dahl, and you are thrashing around for something that reflects your interests.’
      • ‘The pointless violence and vulgarity, however, that ends his stories smacks of an author thrashing around for an ending.’
      • ‘In election years, politicians thrash around blindly in an attempt to humour or captivate public opinion.’
    4. 1.4informal Defeat (someone) heavily in a contest or match.
      ‘I thrashed Pete at cards’
      with object and complement ‘the Braves were thrashed 8–1 by the Mets’
      • ‘West Hartlepool have lost all 14 of the league matches they have played so far this season and were thrashed by Harrogate last month at Claro Road.’
      • ‘Lancashire have been frustrated by the rain in their current match with Middlesex at Old Trafford, especially as Sussex thrashed Durham inside three days at Hove.’
      • ‘I was comprehensively thrashed in all four rounds.’
      • ‘After being obliterated at tennis on Saturday, I was thrashed at squash this afternoon.’
      • ‘There can be no doubt that Paul was comprehensively thrashed in the debate.’
      • ‘We used to go to the gym together before I left to join one in Chelmsford, and he always thrashed me on the running machine, easily sprinting off at 15 km/h.’
      • ‘But whenever he tried to fight higher levels of competition, he was soundly thrashed.’
      • ‘I think I was put off the game during my early teens when my brother repeatedly thrashed me.’
      • ‘Yes we have done it again: Ireland thrashed Italy in a brilliant match.’
      • ‘Hunter was thrashed by Doherty in last year's final’
      • ‘Yorkshire have so far suffered crushing defeats by Surrey and Somerset while Kent were thrashed by Hampshire in their last match.’
      • ‘After defeating Burnley and thrashing Gillingham 7-1, the young Blues will find it much tougher at Goodison Park.’
      • ‘They managed just 45 and were thrashed by nine wickets.’
      • ‘The students of St John's College bounced back from a heavy mid-week defeat to thrash Dunnington 6-0.’
      • ‘The Norwegian, the person for whom English is a second language, thrashed us at Scrabble.’
      • ‘Now he'd had a chance to thrash me again, I had lost what small advantage I had.’
      • ‘He thrashed me out there, but I'll just take it on the chin.’
      • ‘In the opening match of the tournament on Saturday, Germany thrashed Pakistan 6-0.’
      • ‘Then he thrashed me consistently for almost two weeks; but recently, I've wised up to his methodology and begun to beat him.’
      crushing defeat, overwhelming defeat, beating, trouncing, walloping, thumping, battering, rout
      trounce, beat hollow, defeat utterly, rout, annihilate, triumph over, win a resounding victory over, be victorious over, crush, overwhelm, best, get the better of, worst, bring someone to their knees
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    5. 1.5no object Move with brute determination or violent movements.
      ‘I wrench the steering wheel back and thrash on up the hill’
      • ‘It's nice to think of them picturing Father Christmas and his sleigh whooshing across frosty rooftops, as opposed to me thrashing my way around a soulless out-of-town shopping centre.’
      • ‘As their fins thrashed through the water in fast pursuit, I saw the whale shark descend rapidly to the depths.’
      struggle, thresh, flail, toss and turn, twist and turn, pitch, splash, stagger, stumble, falter, lurch, blunder, fumble, grope, squirm, writhe
      View synonyms
    6. 1.6
      rare term for thresh (sense 1)


  • 1usually in singular A violent or noisy movement, typically involving hitting something repeatedly.

    ‘the thrash of the waves’
    • ‘It was a brief but animated struggle, the flex of the rod and the 6-pound-test line absorbing the runs, thrashes and splashes of the creature that had been hiding in ambush in the roots of the cypress tree.’
  • 2A short, fast, loud piece or passage of rock music.

    • ‘There are some explosive stop-start punky thrashes that sound like Pavement at warp-speed.’
    • ‘The best stuff is from the early seventies, when the murky, basic production and tight rhythm section set up a selection of exciting guitar thrashes.’
    1. 2.1 A style of fast, loud, harsh-sounding rock music, combining elements of punk and heavy metal.
      • ‘The evening starts off with live music, then moves on to a mixture of accessible indie tunes - the night is thankfully light on the angry teen, thrash metal side, focussing instead on alternative anthems of the last ten years.’
      • ‘She abruptly broke off the conversation to ask a man browsing through the thrash metal section if he could find what he was looking for.’
      • ‘During a period in the 1990s, reggae music went through a period called ‘bashment’, which was very angry, shouting unmelodic rants, similar to thrash metal in the US.’
      • ‘Neither is formal beauty a universally shared musical value, as much as film music or thrash metal are deliberately ugly.’
      • ‘There are also elements of thrash metal, cock rock and pop punk.’
      • ‘It involves him playing loud thrash metal music late at night, or joining a group of Dublin youngsters in a joy-riding escapade.’
      • ‘The four-lad outfit turned in a stunning thrash metal performance complete with guitar posturing and indecipherable lyrics delivered in a satanic growl.’
      • ‘They also offer doom metal, death metal, thrash metal, power metal and black metal.’
      • ‘It may be their collective hardcore or thrash metal backgrounds.’
      • ‘I think it's kind of cool that thrash metal fans can get a chance to check out for the first time bands that helped lay down the roots.’
      • ‘Their latest album is proof of this, smelting the finest elements of thrash, death and black metal and ruthlessly pouring the molten result down your throat.’
      • ‘To reach the stage that they were at by 1991 is a long convoluted story involving several superb thrash metal albums on different small labels, each album selling more than the last.’
      • ‘If we were doing thrash metal, we would definitely dress the part.’
      • ‘It's simple, straight ahead thrash metal that gets repetitive fast.’
      • ‘Regarded by many as the album that started thrash metal, it was fast and furious and it is no wonder that many regard it as the greatest thrash / heavy album - the father of them all.’
      • ‘They jumped into the thrash metal game very late, when it was spiraling back into the underground.’
      • ‘From what sounds like an amalgamation of hardcore and thrash metal, any promising musical ability is then shrouded by the raspy rap-rattled-off vocals, which are then accompanied by a dominating rhythm.’
      • ‘While musically competent, these guys display no particular distinction, and the thrash guitar leads are pretty basic.’
      • ‘When we started, thrash metal was still really underground.’
      • ‘One of the most distinctive guitarists of the punk generation, his searing, choking guitar lines lift the songs above the thrash punk anthems they would later become.’

Phrasal Verbs

  • thrash something out

    • 1Discuss something thoroughly and honestly.

      • ‘He and Murdoch are due to meet next week to thrash things out.’
      • ‘It is a complex process but it also ensures everyone has their say and matters are thrashed out in detail.’
      • ‘And, in the weeks and months that followed, the pros and cons were thrashed out and re-examined and discussed and analysed until there was nothing left to say.’
      • ‘A spokesman for the minister said these issues would be thrashed out in the coming weeks.’
      • ‘I want to get all the staff members involved in my case to come together to thrash it out.’
      • ‘Two separate oral hearings are to be scheduled for approximately 6 weeks time when the grievances of all parties will be thrashed out before adjudicating panels.’
      • ‘We needed to thrash those issues out.’
      • ‘What I'm getting at is that you seem have a bone to pick with me of late, and we should thrash it out before it becomes a problem.’
      • ‘Guys are willing to thrash things out with each other when there are conflicts.’
      • ‘But I'm never going to thrash it out with them because they think my taste in music appalling so I never talk to them.’
      resolve, settle, sort out, straighten out, iron out, reconcile, disentangle, clarify, clear up, talk through, confer about, debate, exchange views about, exchange views on, chew over, air, ventilate, argue out, argue the pros and cons of
      produce, come to a decision on, work out, form a resolution about, negotiate, agree on, bring about, complete, accomplish, carry through, effect
      View synonyms
      1. 1.1
        • ‘They were thrashing out the most significant deal in recent Scottish brewing history.’
        • ‘The Taoiseach said the position would become untenable if an agreement was not thrashed out and warned that all sides would pull back unless a deal was imminently wrapped up.’
        • ‘They would then be invited back in once the details had been thrashed out and only then asked for their opinion.’
        • ‘It is time a permanent solution was thrashed out.’
        • ‘We're going to sit down in the next two to three weeks and try and thrash something out.’
        • ‘The political clash between Irish nationalism and Unionism has been reduced to little more than shadow boxing, with the consequence that nothing of political substance is ever thrashed out or resolved.’
        • ‘US officials in Washington said earlier that the letter had been thrashed out in negotiations between the two sides.’
        • ‘I hope desperately that something can be thrashed out because I can't imagine who really wants two different series.’
        • ‘Ideally, we would like to take over the land if we can thrash something out with the owner.’
        • ‘Late on Sunday night, the two men met, eventually thrashing out a deal.’


Old English, variant of thresh (an early sense). Current senses of the noun date from the mid 19th century.