1 of 2


thawed; thawing; thaws

intransitive verb

: to go from a frozen to a liquid state : melt
: to become free of the effect (such as stiffness, numbness, or hardness) of cold as a result of exposure to warmth
: to be warm enough to melt ice and snow
used with it in reference to the weather
: to abandon aloofness, reserve, or hostility : unbend
: to become mobile, active, or susceptible to change

transitive verb

: to cause to thaw


2 of 2


: the action, fact, or process of thawing
: a period of weather warm enough to thaw ice
the January thaw
: the action or process of becoming less aloof, less hostile, or more genial
a thaw in international relations

Examples of thaw in a Sentence

Verb 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. Noun flooding from the spring thaw a thaw in international relations See More
Recent Examples on the Web
Keep in Mind It should only be kept at room temperature for a day after thawing. Kathleen Felton, Better Homes & Gardens, 17 Nov. 2023 When Stephanie and her husband thawed her 14 frozen eggs five years later, only one became a viable embryo. Paige Stables, Allure, 16 Nov. 2023 But representatives from the U.S. and China have been meeting with increasing frequency lately, working to thaw relations. Colleen Long and Aamer Madhani, The Christian Science Monitor, 14 Nov. 2023 Sea ice and glaciers are melting, and permafrost is thawing. Chelsea Harvey, Scientific American, 14 Nov. 2023 The performance took place that August, just as lockdown had begun to thaw worldwide, which would have made for a hell of an entry back into live music. Jeff Terich, SPIN, 18 Oct. 2023 Coral cryopreservation is difficult in part because freezing and thawing wreak havoc on cells. WIRED, 11 Nov. 2023 Cover and freeze up to 3 months, if desired; thaw in refrigerator 24 hours. Pam Lolley, Southern Living, 10 Nov. 2023 Allow the eggs to thaw overnight in the refrigerator before use. Katlyn Moncada, Better Homes & Gardens, 7 Nov. 2023
Ancient rodents had dug the burrow, about 10 inches wide, during the Last Ice Age, and cold temperatures had since frozen it into permafrost that never thaws. Matt Hrodey, Discover Magazine, 3 Aug. 2023 The trip was the culmination of a growing diplomatic thaw between Turkey and the Saudi and UAE governments after nearly a decade of icy relations. Joost Hiltermann, Foreign Affairs, 1 Aug. 2023 The toffee thaws quickly, and can be pulled out of the freezer and served almost immediately. Sheri Castle, Southern Living, 5 Nov. 2023 The mere fact that China’s top diplomat is visiting D.C. for meetings with Secretary of State Antony Blinken and national security adviser Jake Sullivan — and potentially President Biden — is a marker of progress since the countries started exploring a thaw in ties over the summer. Lily Kuo, Washington Post, 26 Oct. 2023 Permafrost thaw can also allow for the connection between groundwater springs and the surface river. WIRED, 18 Oct. 2023 Permafrost thaw is now inevitable, said Torre Jorgenson, an affiliate professor at the University of Alaska at Fairbanks. Alexandra Heal, Anchorage Daily News, 8 Sep. 2023 Whether in the Pacific, Arctic, or Atlantic oceans, the cetaceans, bears, and marine life are uniquely different in each environment, especially when the Arctic Ocean thaws come spring. Jonny Bierman, Travel + Leisure, 20 Oct. 2023 The book is the playwright’s story of his 1983 trip to China, where he was invited during the post-Mao cultural thaw to direct an all-Chinese cast in a production of Death of a Salesman at the Beijing People’s Art Theater. Sara Holdren, Vulture, 19 Oct. 2023 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'thaw.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History



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

First Known Use


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


15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

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

Dictionary Entries Near thaw

Cite this Entry

“Thaw.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 5 Dec. 2023.

Kids Definition


1 of 2 verb
: to melt or cause to melt
ice on the pond is thawing
: to become free of the effects of cold temperatures by being exposed to warmth
frozen foods thawed before cooking


2 of 2 noun
: the action, fact, or process of thawing
: a period of weather warm enough to thaw ice and snow

More from Merriam-Webster on thaw

Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
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