Definition of thrash in US English:



[with object]
  • 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.’
    • ‘His future father-in-law came round to dinner one evening and attempted to thrash him with a horsewhip.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Joshua grabbed the whip, thrashing the master again and again.’
    • ‘Once home, his father, a freedom fighter, thrashed him mercilessly.’
    • ‘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.’’
    • ‘Then he was thrashed by criminals for being a ‘traitor’ to his country.’
    • ‘His mother, who had thrashed him twice in front of his gurus for not being regular to his classes, had also played a role.’
    • ‘Ravi's father often thrashes him for neglecting studies.’
    • ‘Then she started thrashing him about the head and shoulders.’
    • ‘After thrashing him, one of the youths pulled a pistol and shot him in the stomach.’
    • ‘From where we were, we could see them thrashing him mercilessly, hitting him with stones.’
    • ‘She would beat her until her arm was tired and then thrash her on the floor.’
    • ‘She was sexually exploited and if she refused to comply, she was thrashed.’
    • ‘This annoyed the jawans who beat the husband and when wife intervened to stop them, she was also thrashed.’
    • ‘Once they had finished thrashing me, they tied me up again, but this time I managed to keep my ankles and wrists slightly apart.’
    • ‘The accused were armed with sharp edged weapons and thrashed him brutally.’
    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’
      • ‘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?’
      • ‘Those famous feet thrash the water so hard, the men that trail him say it is like being immersed in a washing machine.’
    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’
      • ‘Great tears were rolling down her face as she thrashed on the bed.’
      • ‘Then Amy started violently thrashing in her sleep.’
      • ‘Kicking and thrashing, Jennifer desperately struggled to break free.’
      • ‘A few hours later, he began thrashing about in a seizure so violent that he dislocated his shoulder.’
      • ‘Violently, he thrashed around on the bed until he fell and hit the floor.’
      • ‘Every time he accelerates it reclines of its own accord, leaving my legs thrashing around in the air.’
      • ‘There was Sara being held down by nurses as she thrashed around, desperate to get back to her husband.’
      • ‘As the tiny birds thrash around trying to free themselves they become even more entrapped.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘A family who went to confront an intruder in their garden were surprised to find a young deer thrashing around in their swimming pool.’
      • ‘Convulsions took him over and he was thrashing, shaking, screaming, but he didn't know it.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘He hissed in my ear as I thrashed about in the tight circle of his arms.’
      • ‘If you want to swim really fast, stop thrashing about, relax and feel the water.’
      • ‘Four years later though, and I was the only one still thrashing around in the shallow end, terrified of getting his head underwater.’
      • ‘Struggling, she thrashed about hoping to break free.’
      flail, thresh, flounder, toss and turn, jerk, toss, squirm, writhe, twist, wriggle, wiggle, twitch
      View synonyms
    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’
      • ‘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?’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘You've graduated from the Famous Five and Roald Dahl, and you are thrashing around for something that reflects your interests.’
      • ‘So they thrash around, throwing money at projects and making sacrifices to the gods.’
      • ‘Many commentators have spent the week thrashing around in an attempt to discover what it means.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Cricket attendances are in decline and the sport is thrashing around desperately for a solution.’
      • ‘In election years, politicians thrash around blindly in an attempt to humour or captivate public opinion.’
      • ‘After much thrashing around, the biotech industry is finally nearing consensus on what to call less expensive, generic-type alternatives to pricey biotech drugs.’
      • ‘The Government keeps thrashing around for that magic bullet, desperate to eliminate this crisis once and for all.’
      • ‘Since his public standing hit an all-time low following his divorce he has been thrashing around for some means to enhance his popularity.’
      • ‘The pointless violence and vulgarity, however, that ends his stories smacks of an author thrashing around for an ending.’
      • ‘He thrashes around, drinking too much and playing his daughter's CDs.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘It would seem that we're into one of those cycles where old issues are still being thrashed around, locally, and nationally.’
      • ‘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.’
    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’
      • ‘Now he'd had a chance to thrash me again, I had lost what small advantage I had.’
      • ‘Then he thrashed me consistently for almost two weeks; but recently, I've wised up to his methodology and begun to beat him.’
      • ‘The students of St John's College bounced back from a heavy mid-week defeat to thrash Dunnington 6-0.’
      • ‘There can be no doubt that Paul was comprehensively thrashed in the debate.’
      • ‘I think I was put off the game during my early teens when my brother repeatedly thrashed me.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘After being obliterated at tennis on Saturday, I was thrashed at squash this afternoon.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘The Norwegian, the person for whom English is a second language, thrashed us at Scrabble.’
      • ‘He thrashed me out there, but I'll just take it on the chin.’
      • ‘They managed just 45 and were thrashed by nine wickets.’
      • ‘Yes we have done it again: Ireland thrashed Italy in a brilliant match.’
      • ‘But whenever he tried to fight higher levels of competition, he was soundly thrashed.’
      • ‘Hunter was thrashed by Doherty in last year's final’
      • ‘I was comprehensively thrashed in all four rounds.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Yorkshire have so far suffered crushing defeats by Surrey and Somerset while Kent were thrashed by Hampshire in their last match.’
      • ‘In the opening match of the tournament on Saturday, Germany thrashed Pakistan 6-0.’
      • ‘After defeating Burnley and thrashing Gillingham 7-1, the young Blues will find it much tougher at Goodison Park.’
      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
      View synonyms
    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.
      • ‘It's simple, straight ahead thrash metal that gets repetitive fast.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘They jumped into the thrash metal game very late, when it was spiraling back into the underground.’
      • ‘They also offer doom metal, death metal, thrash metal, power metal and black metal.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘If we were doing thrash metal, we would definitely dress the part.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘It may be their collective hardcore or thrash metal backgrounds.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘The four-lad outfit turned in a stunning thrash metal performance complete with guitar posturing and indecipherable lyrics delivered in a satanic growl.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘While musically competent, these guys display no particular distinction, and the thrash guitar leads are pretty basic.’
      • ‘Neither is formal beauty a universally shared musical value, as much as film music or thrash metal are deliberately ugly.’
      • ‘When we started, thrash metal was still really underground.’

Phrasal Verbs

  • thrash something out

    • 1Discuss something thoroughly and honestly.

      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘It is a complex process but it also ensures everyone has their say and matters are thrashed out in detail.’
      • ‘I want to get all the staff members involved in my case to come together to thrash it out.’
      • ‘We needed to thrash those issues out.’
      • ‘A spokesman for the minister said these issues would be thrashed out in the coming weeks.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘He and Murdoch are due to meet next week to thrash things out.’
      • ‘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
        • ‘We're going to sit down in the next two to three weeks and try and thrash something out.’
        • ‘It is time a permanent solution was thrashed out.’
        • ‘I hope desperately that something can be thrashed out because I can't imagine who really wants two different series.’
        • ‘Late on Sunday night, the two men met, eventually thrashing out a deal.’
        • ‘They were thrashing out the most significant deal in recent Scottish brewing history.’
        • ‘US officials in Washington said earlier that the letter had been thrashed out in negotiations between the two sides.’
        • ‘They would then be invited back in once the details had been thrashed out and only then asked for their opinion.’
        • ‘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.’
        • ‘Ideally, we would like to take over the land if we can thrash something out with the owner.’
        • ‘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.’


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