\ˈthȯ \
thawed; thawing; thaws

Definition of thaw 

(Entry 1 of 2)

intransitive verb

1a : to go from a frozen to a liquid state : melt

b : to become free of the effect (such as stiffness, numbness, or hardness) of cold as a result of exposure to warmth

2 : to be warm enough to melt ice and snow used with it in reference to the weather

3 : to abandon aloofness, reserve, or hostility : unbend

4 : to become mobile, active, or susceptible to change

transitive verb

: to cause to thaw



Definition of thaw (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : the action, fact, or process of thawing

2 : a period of weather warm enough to thaw ice the January thaw

3 : the action or process of becoming less aloof, less hostile, or more genial a thaw in international relations

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Synonyms & Antonyms for thaw

Synonyms: Verb

deliquesce, flux, fuse, liquefy (also liquify), melt, run

Antonyms: Verb

harden, set, solidify

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Examples of thaw in a Sentence


Plant the seeds in early spring as soon as the ground thaws. The sun will soon thaw the snow and ice. The weather is beginning to thaw. Our cold fingers and toes eventually thawed. She held the coffee cup tightly, trying to thaw her frozen fingers.


flooding from the spring thaw a thaw in international relations
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Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

The 778-foot tall Skyline Tower, due to be the tallest building in Queens, is now planning to open its sales office in January rather than in the spring, when sales activity usually thaws, Mr. Benaim said. Josh Barbanel, WSJ, "Amazon Employees Join the Rush to Buy Long Island City Condos," 20 Nov. 2018 Start around the 1:57 mark: Does this mean the ice between Disick/Richie and the Kardashians is thawing? Christopher Rosa, Glamour, "Whoa, a Kardashian Actually Said Something Nice About Scott Disick and Sofia Richie's Relationship," 12 Feb. 2018 Since that speech, Trump and Kim have met in person and relations between the South and North Koreans have thawed. Adam Shaw, Fox News, "Trump trades fire with Iranian leader at UN General Assembly," 26 Sep. 2018 The inspector also said food wasn’t being thawed properly and some food wasn’t covered. Joshua Sharpe, ajc, "Buford Highway Chinese restaurant fails health inspection," 10 May 2018 Advances in the techniques used to freeze embryos have increased the number that can be successfully thawed. Ginger Christ And Julie Washington,, "Tours of Ohio fertility clinics show procedures in place to safeguard eggs, embryos (photos, videos)," 25 Mar. 2018 That would further worsen global warming, further thawing the Arctic – and so on. Chris Mooney, Anchorage Daily News, "The Arctic is full of toxic mercury, and climate change is going to release it," 6 Feb. 2018 The doors are closed in the winter to keep the tunnels warmer and prevent the freezing and thawing that can destabilize the limestone rock inside. Chelsey Lewis, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "3 old railroad tunnels help make the Elroy-Sparta Trail one of the state's most popular," 21 June 2018 Even in periods when North-South relations seemed to thaw, the remains returned were meager and often decidedly suspicious. New York Times, "Trump-Kim Deal Promises Answers for Families of Korean War M.I.A.s," 15 June 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

Turkey’s recent release of Mr. Brunson has allowed a thaw in relations with Washington. Yaroslav Trofimov, WSJ, "The Long Struggle for Supremacy in the Muslim World," 26 Oct. 2018 The tough statement marked the first time Russia raised the issue of the alleged U.S. non-compliance with the pact signed by President Barack Obama and then-Russian President Dmitry Medvedev amid a brief thaw in Russia-U.S. ties. Vladimir Isachenkov, The Seattle Times, "Russia challenges US compliance with nuclear arms treaty," 8 Oct. 2018 The sanctions are seen as being partly responsible for a thaw in relations between North and South Korea, and a meeting in June between President Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un. Adam Shaw, Fox News, "US calls for urgent UN meeting on North Korea sanctions after accusing Russia of interfering with report," 15 Sep. 2018 His tenure as secretary general of NATO coincided with a thaw in Cold War relations, marked by arms-control agreements between President Ronald Reagan and Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev. Washington Post, "Lord Carrington, British statesman who served six prime ministers, dies at 99," 10 July 2018 What followed was a flurry of unexpected diplomacy and a sudden thaw in relations with one of the world’s most isolated and repressive nations. Matt Stiles,, "South Korea's president was matchmaker for the nuclear summit — but could take the blame if it fails," 7 June 2018 Sign-up In recent days, prices for the metal have been helped by hopes of a thaw in relations between the U.S. and China as talks between top officials resumed ahead of a meeting between the countries’ leaders later this month. Ira Iosebashvili, WSJ, "Growth Worries Threaten Copper’s Luster," 16 Nov. 2018 Within a few months, Abiy has implemented sweeping economic and political reforms, among them making peace with longtime rival Eritrea, which has set off a series of diplomatic thaws in Africa’s turbulent Horn of Africa region. Sylvie Corbet, The Seattle Times, "French president backs Ethiopia leader’s sweeping reforms," 29 Oct. 2018 An international team of 80 researchers reported in June that the rate of thaw in Antarctica has tripled over the past decade. Umair Irfan, Vox, "Antarctica has lost 2.71 trillion tons of ice. Here’s what that looks like.," 12 Sep. 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'thaw.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of thaw


before the 12th century, in the meaning defined at transitive sense


15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for thaw


Middle English, from Old English thawian; akin to Old High German douwen to thaw, Greek tēkein to melt, Latin tabēre to waste away

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Statistics for thaw

Last Updated

5 Dec 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for thaw

The first known use of thaw was before the 12th century

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More Definitions for thaw



English Language Learners Definition of thaw

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: to stop being frozen or to cause (something) to stop being frozen

of weather : to become warm enough that snow and ice melt

: to return to a normal temperature after being very cold



English Language Learners Definition of thaw (Entry 2 of 2)

: a period of weather that is warm enough to melt ice and snow

: a situation in which a relationship becomes more friendly and less angry


\ˈthȯ \
thawed; thawing

Kids Definition of thaw

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : to melt or cause to melt

2 : to grow less unfriendly or quiet in manner



Kids Definition of thaw (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : a period of weather warm enough to melt ice and snow

2 : the action, fact, or process of becoming less hostile or unfriendly

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More from Merriam-Webster on thaw

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with thaw

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for thaw

Spanish Central: Translation of thaw

Nglish: Translation of thaw for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of thaw for Arabic Speakers

Comments on thaw

What made you want to look up thaw? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


to make faulty or ineffective

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