\ ˈthȯ How to pronounce thaw (audio) \
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

As Arctic temperatures climb, thawing permafrost releases those warming gases. Stephen Leahy, National Geographic, "A warming Arctic could cost the world trillions of dollars," 23 Apr. 2019 In a lab aboard the ISS, astronauts thawed the frozen samples and mixed them with a chemical cocktail that spurred the sperm to start swimming. Amber Jorgenson, Discover Magazine, "Sex and the Cosmic City," 18 Apr. 2019 Now, signs the Federal Reserve will be patient in raising interest rates, along with stronger-than-expected corporate earnings and thawing global trade tensions, have helped reassure investors a U.S. recession isn’t looming. Jessica Menton, WSJ, "Transports Are Rallying but Aren’t Yet Sending ‘An All Clear’ on Economy," 11 Feb. 2019 Let thawed pizza dough sit at room temperature for 30 minutes. Woman's Day Kitchen, Woman's Day, "Apple, Sweet Potato, and Rosemary Flatbread," 9 Oct. 2018 While thawing, their hearts resume beating even before ice in the body has completely melted, and pulmonary respiration and blood circulation are restored soon thereafter, according to Constanzo's 1997 Miami University study. Amy Lieu, Fox News, "Wood frogs' winter survival may depend on holding in urine: study," 2 May 2018 The milk was spoiled, the frozen foods thawed, the meat rotting. Lizzie Johnson, San Francisco Chronicle, "Santa Rosa shops survived the wildfires, but aftermath leaves them struggling," 23 Apr. 2018 Fierce weather attacked certain regions of the southwest this past holiday weekend, and some of those frozen places are still in the process of thawing. Herrine Ro, Country Living, "This Picture of a Melting Speed Limit Sign Is Going Viral After Southwest Ice Storms," 30 Nov. 2015 People place their bets as to precisely when the river has thawed enough for the tripod to topple, stopping the clock. John Kelly, Washington Post, "A strong finish for The Washington Post Helping Hand: We smashed past our goal," 16 Jan. 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

The move set off a number of diplomatic thaws, including one between Eritrea and Somalia. Elias Meseret, The Seattle Times, "Eritrea hopes UN Security Council will soon lift sanctions," 5 Nov. 2018 In another sign of a thaw, the U.S. and China late Monday agreed on a broad outline to save ZTE, a Chinese telecom giant that U.S. lawmakers see as a security threat. Gerard Baker, WSJ, "The 10-Point.," 22 May 2018 Like a scene from a horror film, the World War II bombs sometimes emerge from the ground on their own, working their way through the earth over the decades as the ground freezes and thaws. Erik Kirschbaum,, "In a city littered with World War II-era explosives, Berlin's bomb squad is always on alert," 14 June 2018 The solid permafrost that sits beneath many roads, buildings and pipelines is starting to thaw, destabilizing the infrastructure above. Author: Brad Plumer, Anchorage Daily News, "‘Impossible to ignore’: Why Alaska is crafting a plan to fight climate change," 16 May 2018 Some have dismissed the thaw as a fleeting moment and that the North's Kim will be back to his ways once the Games end. Aamer Madhani, USA TODAY, "Korean fans support unified Winter Olympic hockey team but unification is another issue," 10 Feb. 2018 The problem is usually discovered when the pipes thaw and the flooding begins. Aimee Green,, "Rental nightmare: $120k lawsuit blames renter for cold home, frozen pipes," 12 Jan. 2018 Still, there remains a genuine fear — perhaps slightly allayed now following Washington and Pyongyang’s diplomatic thaw — that the leaders might escalate their public squabble into a nuclear conflict. Alex Ward, Vox, "This is exactly how a nuclear war would kill you," 19 Oct. 2018 Though technically perennials, mums are often grown as annuals owing to shallow root systems inclined to heave right out of the ground during winter's freeze-thaw cycles. The Editors, Good Housekeeping, "How to Grow the Most Gorgeous Chrysanthemums This Fall," 9 Aug. 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

20 Jun 2019

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 How to pronounce thaw (audio) \
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

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behavior toward others

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